Wake Forest University’s sociology department is among six nationwide selected this year for a program designed to train faculty and students to use current U.S. Census data to explore social issues.
The Integrated Data Analysis Program, sponsored by the American Sociological Association (ASA) and the Social Science Data Analysis Network (SSDAN), will help Wake Forest faculty integrate data analysis into their courses.
“Teaching students to analyze and interpret data introduces students to social science research and promotes critical thinking skills in ways that traditional methods do not,” said Ana-Maria Wahl, assistant professor of sociology at Wake Forest. “By working with census data, students will receive hands-on experience with one of the most important sources of demographic and social data currently available. The U.S. Census data represents a powerful tool for exploring a wide range of our most pressing social problems, from poverty to segregation.”
To prepare for the program, several faculty members from Wake Forest’s sociology department recently completed a four-day workshop in Ann Arbor, Mich., organized by the ASA. In addition, representatives from the ASA will make site visits to Wake Forest during the next year to help faculty incorporate the data analysis component into their courses. As part of the program, Wake Forest sociology faculty will be able to request customized data sets for use in their courses.
Beginning this summer, Wake Forest students will have the opportunity to work directly with census data and other current data sources in their sociology classes. Using programs developed by the ASA and SSDAN, Wake Forest students will explore residential segregation by race, housing problems among the “working poor,” family composition by income and race, and several other topics.
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