week 10: visualise some public data

The core focus of this week is to continue to engage with the block 3 readings, and to produce your weekly data visualisation.

Our additional (and non-assessed) activity for you to try this week is the ‘visualise some public data’ task. This will introduce you to some useful sources of public data about education, and some tools of presenting and visualising your chosen analysis. As with the previous tasks on the course, the underlying rationale for ‘visualising some public data’ this week is to provide some practical experiences through which we can reflect on more substantive questions about the role of data in educational governance. Important questions here include: how do these data sets and tools introduce particular kinds of emphasis and authority in educational research?

As with previous tasks, the emphasis is on reflection, rather than a final coherent analysis of data. This is not a course on social science research methods, and you are not expected to have expertise in this area. Rather, it is an opportunity to explore and investigate public educational data sets, and to use the experience to aid your critical reflection, and also your own ongoing hand drawn data visualisation assignment.

The two public data sources to explore this week are:

HESA Open data and official statistics
OECD Education GPS

While the OECD Educational GPS database offers its own tools for interesting visualisation, we also suggest exploring the free version of the popular visualisation tool Tableau. If you decide to use the HESA data, you will also need an additional tool for visualisation. As with other tasks, you are also welcome to look beyond this suggestion, and make use of any other relevant data visualisation tools.

Your key tasks this week will be to:

  • Continue reading the core and secondary literature for this block
  • Produce your weekly data visualisation
  • Try some analysis and visualisation of public data, and post some reflections on the experience in your blog