TELLab: Data Project Concept
Jeremy Wilmer, Department of Psychology, Wellesley College
The concept of the “Data Project,” which students complete with enthusiasm in Intro Psych and beyond, is…
- Students have some initial experience to get them thinking.
- Then, in groups of 6-8, they designed their own study within carefully selected parameters. This is mostly done in a single, roughly 30 minute in-class group huddle, but it is supplemented by a small bit of online chatting (just among group members, facilitated by me) to tweak/refine variables or create data-collection sheets.
- We then collect (real) data! The nature of data collection is intentionally different for each Data Project to expose students to different types of data and different operationalizations of variables (e.g. cognitive task vs. self-report vs. observational; experimental vs. correlational).
- Then, individually, the students wrangle (in Excel/Sheets) and visualize (in ShowMyData or Excel/Sheets) their data, guided by video tutorials that I make for them (easy to make with Mac Quicktime or various PC equivalents and to post on YouTube). They hand in their wrangled Excel data and their visualizations, along with interpretive questions (e.g. "What do you conclude?" "What data would you collect next?").
- Students get 15-20 minutes of class time to compare notes with other members of their team, and then they give an informal group presentation (a few sentences from each group member, perhaps some of the visualizations they made, can be less than 5 minutes total for each group) to their classmates explaining their study, outlining their major results, describing any surprises, and suggesting some next steps.