A unique approach weaves background information about data with practical, hands-on lessons that develop fundamental research skills all students should understand. Easy-to-follow tutorials provide readers with step-by-step instructions to quickly begin analyzing data without having advanced knowledge of data analysis or statistics. Extensive illustrations throughout the book demonstrate to readers how to understand data. End-of-chapter On Your Own exercises challenge readers to develop their skills through easy-to-use data files and questions to reinforce the chapter learning objectives. Student Study Site includes data sets that readers can use to test their data literacy

Data Dirt is Everywhere

When we get a data file—by downloading it or through a public records request—it’s tempting to want to start analyzing it right away.

Many students and even professionals would like to dive in by starting to run calculations to generate some results. But, at this point, we need to pause and take time to understand our data better. What are the data’s strengths? What are their weaknesses? Is anything missing? How important are those missing data? Can we use the data to accurately answer any questions that we might have? Do we need to get other data that might better answer our questions?

All of these questions deal with academic and professional ethics—particularly our responsibility to ...

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