Social Sciences Lessons Published!

Authors: François MichonneauErin Becker BLOG

Announcing publication of a Data Carpentry curriculum for social scientists.

We are excited to announce the initial release of a Data Carpentry Social Sciences Curriculum. This is the first Data Carpentry Curriculum to be released targeted towards researchers outside of the life sciences and provides an opportunity to reach out to new communities.

Peter Smyth has assembled the initial content for these lessons with the guidance of Rachel Gibson, Professor of Political Science at the Cathie Marsh Institute of Social Research, University of Manchester, UK. It was polished during the April 2018 Bug BBQ, and the finishing was done by the lesson Maintainers in coordination with Carpentries staff.

This curriculum aims at teaching similar skills like the ones covered in the Ecology curriculum. It is focused on best practices for working with rectangular and tidy data. The curriculum covers data organization in spreadsheets, data cleaning with OpenRefine, as well as data manipulation and visualization with R. There are also lessons on SQL and Python that are available but are not part of this initial release.

As with other materials for Data Carpentry, the same dataset is used across all the lessons. Here, we use a simplified version of a research datasets generated by the SAFI (Studying African Farmer-led Irrigation) research project. This dataset is available on Figshare and is survey data relating to households and agriculture in Tanzania and Mozambique. The survey data was collected through interviews conducted between November 2016 and June 2017 and covered such things as household features (e.g., construction materials used, number of household members), agricultural practices (e.g., water usage), assets (e.g., number and types of livestock) and details about the household members.

If this curriculum were a piece of software, we would say it is in “beta”. The authors of this curriculum have taught it, and it is now ready to be taught by other members of The Carpentries community. We are interested in your feedback to improve it. We want to ensure it meets the needs and matches the skills that Social Scientists want to acquire when working with data. If you are a social scientist (or studying to become one), please review the lessons and provide us with your feedback. If you are interested in teaching one of the first Social Sciences Data Carpentry workshops, let us know by filling this form.

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