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Online Course

Making Sense of Data in the Media

The University of Sheffield via FutureLearn

(25)
  • Provider FutureLearn
  • Cost Free Online Course (Audit)
  • Session In progress
  • Language English
  • Certificate $44 Certificate Available
  • Effort 3 hours a week
  • Duration 3 weeks long
  • Learn more about MOOCs

Taken this course? Share your experience with other students. Write review

Overview

Improve your data literacy and learn how to spot misleading statistics

“We are bombarded with media statistics every day, but how much of this data is reliable?

On this course, you’ll learn how to read and evaluate data in the media and how to stay alert to misleading statistics and fake news.

You’ll find out how data is created, and how survey formats can affect outcomes.

You’ll also learn the basic principles of data analysis, such as correlation and causation and margins of sampling error.

Ultimately, assessing data and looking for intentionally or unintentionally misleading statistics will help you become a better-informed citizen.

This course is suitable for anyone looking to improve their data literacy.

The course will also be useful to those studying or considering studying data-focused social science subjects.

Taught by

Todd Hartman, Aneta Piekut Educator and Mark Taylor

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Reviews for FutureLearn's Making Sense of Data in the Media Based on 25 reviews

  • 5 stars 80%
  • 4 stars 12%
  • 3 star 4%
  • 2 star 4%
  • 1 star 0%

Did you take this course? Share your experience with other students.

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  • 1
Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
I have always had an aversion to numbers and therefore quantitative research. This course is well structured and interactive. I found it enjoyable, challenging and informative. I'm not yet ready to take a full course in quantitative research, however, by the time I was taking the course at the end of the course, I was able to understand data quickly and I'm finding it much easier to carry out simple surveys at work.

The Educators are competent and the course mentor, Micheal Marshall is excellent and ensured engagement in the comment section, while explaining difficult concepts and encouraging students all along! I appreciated the efforts of the educators to ensure we had access to global examples ( where possible ) and to encourage students to give their own examples.
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Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
Interesting course. We are bombarded with polls and surveys. Daily the media present us with percentages, conclusions, results, rarely if ever with a clear explanation of where the data has come from, how and why it has been collected. This course really helps us to understand these aspects and how we can become better data citizens.

People often have a skewed, negative view of the world today. Most believe things are worse than they are and often believe things are getting even worse. I think this is most unhelpful but it won't change until more people start to assess critically what they see, read or hear, this course really helps you to do that.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
Irrespective of what you take away from this course, it is one of the most important and essential courses FutureLearn puts out. We are smothered in data every day of our lives; if we cannot read that data correctly, we are at the mercy of so much 'fake' that we can be totally manipulated into believing what some faceless character wants us to believe. And the presence of social media makes it worse. The only way we can keep a clear head and an accurate understanding of the world around us is to be able to 'read' data correctly, and the FutureLearn course will enable us to do that.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
This is a really instructive, interesting and pertinent course for everyone. I went through it with comfortable ease. There was a good balance of reading, videos and not too much background information to take in. The examples were thought provoking and manageable. I feel confident to use this information in a project I am preparing for to help me produce sound evidence for my area of concern. Above all, anyone who reads, listens to or watches popular media will have their "fake news blinkers" removed. Many thanks to the team.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
Interesting and well presented. However! it called for more than basic arithmetic skills. Possibly even use of a scientific calculator. Great pity. Could the course designers not show the working for the calculations eg 1% divided by 1.5% it's not an everyday problem. I dredged up some primary school maths on fractions and some O level physics to deal with powers of 10, but was never sure I was right. So overwhelmed with frustration I had to drop out.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Stacy L
Stacy completed this course.
Making Sense of Data in the Media provides valuable resources (links to reputable data gathering organizations) along with tools for dissecting headlines and content in all forms of media. This course is well-organized to maximize the dissemination of information. The instructors handle the problems in the media in a positive way -- through the use of facts and evidence. Thanks to the University of Sheffield for providing this meaningful opportunity!
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
As a researcher I find many quantitative surveys used as evidence in studies as well as in the media. The course has helped me look at this data much more carefully and rather than seeing it as necessarily useless (especially US studies that only survey students), I can consider more carefully what the data tells us and what it doesn't. I enjoyed the presentations, articles and many of the posters comments.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
I exceeded my expectations of myself in not only completing this course but enjoying it which is mainly due in how it was presented. It has given me an insight in how data is collected, how it can be used and how to begin to assess whether it is accurate, the main reasons for doing the course in the first place. It was a new world to me, a bit of an eye opener and well worthwhile.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
This course was very easy to follow, yet one could take it more aggressively. It was great that there was a lot of discourse from both the educators and fellow students, from all walks of life. The course gave enough resources that one could learn to determine where the data was coming from and possibly why or why not it might be accurate.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
One of the best of the FutureLearn courses I have done. Packed a lot into three weeks; really comprehensive; covered everything and made us both aware of problems and encouraged us to think. I treat every survey I now read about or see on TV with deep suspicion until I know where it comes from.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
Outstanding course. I found the content really interesting and it was pitched at exactly the right level. It has certainly openned my eyes to how data can be misrepresented. I think I have gained useful tools to be able to question the so called 'facts' I am presented with by various media.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
A really well thought-through course with great variety of content and loads of links worthy of exploration. Though I didn't take while "live" the input from the mentor was plentiful and engaging.

I've worked in market research for many years and still found new nuggets - many thanks.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
This course is an eye-opener. You should take it. It will help you make sense of all the statistics you read in the news and give you the ability to see more clearly what all the numbers mean. It will also challenge you on your hidden biases and wrong perceptions.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
Great material to study and digest, thank you for your clear explanations and comments.

It is interesting how to analyse surveys' sources, dataset, numbers, questions formulated ....especially now during lock-down .. #covid19 #data #crosscheckreferences
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
I particularly liked that the course moved beyond just media style data reporting into data gathering, sampling , etc that I can directly apply to my work when dealing with research agencies. IT highlighted the pitfalls to look out for.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Llorenc S
Llorenc completed this course.
This course helps you a lot to increase your knowledge in data analysis and data collected field. I was be able to get some usefull skills as well as to motivate myself to carry on my academic career. I highly recommend it.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
The course was in my view excellent. I would most definitely recommend it to everyone who likes to understand how the modern world is impacting on us daily, often without enough defenses on our part to protect our own freedoms
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
Interesting and entertaining course. Thank you.

The set tasks provided avenues into areas of research data I had not previously encountered.

The tasks and tests were well-structured and integral to the learning experience
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
This is a really worth while course. With so much information thrown to us each day its good to understand how this information is captured but it also informs you how to question that information as to who accurate it is.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
I think this course make me know the social science research method better. We can meet with so many numbers everyday in our daily life, but if we cannot indentify them scientifially, we can be easily led astray.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
  • 1

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