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Data Literacy: Introduction

This is a collection of information resources on data literacy. Users can find links to courses, workshops, tools, tutorials, videos, webinars, and other resources related to data literacy.

Research Services Librarian; ORCiD: http://orcid.org/0000-0003-0757-1837

Yingting Zhang, MLS, AHIP's picture
Yingting Zhang, MLS, AHIP
Contact:
RWJ Library of the Health Sciences,
1 RWJ Place, PO Box 19, New Brunswick, NJ 08903; ORCiD: http://orcid.org/0000-0003-0757-1837.
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Introduction to Data Literacy

What is data literacy?

Data literacy means a person's ability to read and comprehend the meaning of data and to apply data information to his or her life and/or work and to use it for making a data informed decision. To help you understand better what data literacy is, here are a few definitions that were found in the internet:

  • "Data literacy involves understanding what data mean, including how to read charts appropriately, draw correct conclusions from data and recognize when data are being used in misleading or inappropriate ways." -- (Carlson et al., 2011 https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1031&context=lib_fsdocs

  • "Data literacy includes the ability to read, work with, analyze and argue with data as part of a larger inquiry process. Reading data involves understanding what data is, and what aspects of the world it represents. Working with data involves acquiring, cleaning, and managing it. Analyzing data involves filtering, sorting, aggregating, comparing, and performing other such analytic operations on it. Arguing with data involves using data to support a larger narrative intended to communicate some message to a particular audience." -- (D’Ignazio & Bhargava, 2016 https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/10d6/75d5d714e29ab21084b84b18f03be474c278.pdf).

  • "Data literacy is the ability to read, understand, create and communicate data as information. Much like literacy as a general concept, data literacy focuses on the competencies involved in working with data." -- (Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_literacy.)

  • "Data-literacy is the ability to consume for knowledge, produce coherently and think critically about data. Data literacy includes statistical literacy but also understanding how to work with large data sets, how they were produced, how to connect various data sets and how to interpret them." -- (Data Journalism Handbook https://datajournalismhandbook.org/1.0/en/understanding_data_0.html)

Data is everywhere. Whether you like it or not, data is wherever you are. Data can be quantitative or qualitative. It can be displayed in various formats - audio, visual, text, or graphic, etc. It is very important for everyone to know how to read data, to understand the different meanings of different data, to know how to interpret and use data (as a data consumer), and to manage as well as share data (as a data producer). This guide aims to provide our users with a collection of data literacy resources to help them become data literate.

New York York University Health Sciences Libraries created a very compelling data story to show how crucial it is to have proper data management and sharing plans. Click here to watch the NYU video “Data Sharing and Management Snafu in 3 Short Acts," (4:40) -- (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2zK3sAtr-4

Are you data literate? If not sure, you may take the following test to see how data literate you are:

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