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Course Overview

On this course, you’ll learn how to read and evaluate data in the media and how to stay alert to misleading statistics and fake news. You’ll find out how data is created, and how survey formats can affect outcomes.

You’ll also learn the basic principles of data analysis, such as correlation and causation and margins of sampling error. Ultimately, assessing data and looking for intentionally or unintentionally misleading statistics will help you become a better-informed citizen.

  • Recognising the ‘size’ of numbers that are reported in the media.
  • How change and risk are reported.
  • How social statistics are created, paying particular attention to survey data.
  • What we can learn from census categories.
  • The different ways that surveys can be conducted and the impact that different formats can have on the results.
  • How to draw a representative sample from a population.
  • Sources of measurement error in surveys.
  • Measuring sensitive or difficult subjects.
  • Checking whether data is trustworthy by reviewing the methodology.
  • How to calculate the Margin of Sampling Error (MoSE).
  • The difference between correlation and causation.
  • Where to find existing sources of data.
  • How to develop a quantitative research project.

This course is suitable for anyone looking to improve their data literacy. The course will also be useful to those studying or considering studying data-focused social science subjects.

By the end of the course you will receive an Ozone certification.  This certification is evidence that you are able to…
  • Become a critical consumer of data in the media.
  • Explain how social statistics are created.
  • Evaluate data to make informed decisions about which results to trust.
  • Design a quantitative research project.