Notebook 1: Numbers - Due 1.28.19

The purpose of this assignment is to get you started working with quantitative data in data frames and visualizing data. You may choose from among these four options, or consult with me if you have another idea.

Option 1: Choose one of the three articles we read for 1/17 (Gross, Ruggles, or Gregory). Use IPUMS data to replicate the author’s analysis. Instead of presenting tables, however, present your analysis as a series of four graphical data visualizations.

Option 2: Do the same thing for any other article of your choice, using the same data used by the original author or a comparable data set you have access to.

Option 3: Pose a research question that you can explore using IPUMS data. Produce four data visualizations that address your research question.

Option 4: Pose a research question that you can explore using other quantitative data to which you have access. Produce four data visualizations that address your research question.

Regardless of which option you choose, you should do the following:

  • Format your assignment as an R Notebook (submit the .nb.html file through Canvas).
  • Very briefly (one or two paragraphs), ground your analysis in an existing field of scholarship or scholarly debate (if you choose Option 1 or 2, you can summarize the framing of the article you are replicating).
  • Describe your analysis in enough detail that a reader could replicate it (without having read the original article if you choose Option 1 or 2).
  • If you choose Option 1 or 2, discuss any challenges you face in replicating the original study.
  • If you choose Option 3 or 4, explain how your analysis addresses your research question or topic.
  • Drawing on readings for this class or any other critical scholarship about data analysis and/or visualization, explain the rationale behind the specific visualizations you have chosen. If your choice is constrained by the capabilities of R (or your capabilities with R), explain that and describe what you would have liked to do differently.
  • Explore the implications of your analysis. If you are replicating another study, do your visualizations shed any new light on the topic? Did the process lead you to challenge any aspect of the original study? For any option, what questions do your visualizations answer and what new questions do they raise?
  • Follow whatever citation practices are standard in your discipline.

Notebook 2: Maps - Due 2.11.19

For this assignment, you will use R to produce one or more maps illustrating the spatial distribution of one or more variables of interest. Suggestions include:

  • Reproduce a map you encountered in the reading for this class or in any other venue
  • Map the data you analyzed for Notebook 1
  • Map data that you are working on as part of another project
  • Map data from IPUMS or NHGIS

In addition to the map(s) and all of the code that you used to build the map(s), your notebook should include the following (no more than one paragraph each):

  • Explain the analytic purpose of the map. If you are reproducing a map you encountered elsewhere, you can explain the original analytic purpose and/or your purpose in reproducing it. If you are mapping data you worked with in Notebook 1, explain how mapping the data might provide additional insight. If you are mapping data from another source, explain why that particular data set is worth mapping.
  • Explain the choices you made in creating your map. How do those choices affect the way the data appear in the map or the way a viewer might interpret your map?
  • Discuss the way your map engages space and visualizes the construction of place. You might think back to Drucker’s idea of “spatiality” or Blevins’s idea of “imagined geography.” How do the affordances of R either constrain or enhance your ability to engage space?
  • Describe your map in enough detail that readers could replicate it and interpret it for themselves.
  • Interpret your map in light of your knowledge of the map’s topic. If you are replicating a map from another source, your knowledge might come from that source. If you are working with your own data, use your knowledge of those data. If you are mapping data from IPUMS or NHGIS on a topic you know about, draw on any references you have for that topic.
  • Follow whatever citation practices are standard in your discipline.

Notebook 3: Texts - Due 2.25.19

Notebook 4: Networks - Due 3.11.19