• adelaide

Critical Evaluation in Data Science: Data, the World, and You

Gain the crucial skills and techniques to understand and evaluate the data you are presented with in everyday life.

412 enrolled on this course

Woman looking at graphs and plots on a computer screen.

Critical Evaluation in Data Science: Data, the World, and You

412 enrolled on this course

  • 6 weeks

  • 5 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Introductory level

Find out more about how to join this course

  • Duration

    6 weeks
  • Weekly study

    5 hours
  • 100% online

    How it works
  • Unlimited subscription

    $244.99 for one whole yearLearn more

Learn how data analytics affects everyone with the University of Adelaide

In an increasingly data-centric world, a working understanding of data analytics and quantitative methods is essential for all members of society.

This six-week course will teach you fundamental quantitative methods for dealing with data. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be able to interpret and critically evaluate claims you encounter in your day-to-day life.

Through case studies, you’ll explore the foundational concepts in data science and statistical thinking. You’ll also discover machine learning and data science methods, and understand both the possibilities and pitfalls of these emerging sciences.

Learn how to identify misleading statistics

When presented with claims in the media that are accompanied by statistics, diagrams, and outputs from technologies like AI and machine learning, how can we learn to not be fooled by these claims?

This course will help you understand misleading statistics and learn how to challenge them when they are presented to you.

Delve into sample, variability, and study design

Next, you’ll explore the different components of research including research questions, sampling, and variability.

Using case studies, you’ll explore how sampling can go wrong as you learn the best practices. You’ll then move on to study design to understand the types of studies you may encounter.

Unpack the rules for analysing data

On the final weeks of the course, you’ll explore how bias can infiltrate surveys. You’ll also discover basic rules for analysing data to ensure a fair result is achieved.

Armed with this knowledge, you’ll have the confidence to accurately read and interpret the data you are presented with in everyday life.

Syllabus

  • Week 1

    Misleading statistics

    • Getting started

      This section includes all the information you will need to get started in this course.

    • Introduction to Week 1

      Let's take a look ahead to what we'll be covering this week.

    • Misleading statistics

      Let's explore some common issues that arise with data collection and how they can result in misleading statistics.

    • How to fool the world with percentages

      Learn some common techniques people use to mislead others with percentages.

    • Fermi estimation

      Learn how to use Fermi estimation to make quick approximations or rough estimates based on limited information.

    • Statistics in the media

      Learn how to separate statistics from misleading media narratives.

    • Bringing it all together

      Let's reflect on what we've covered this week and take a look at what's coming up next.

  • Week 2

    Sampling and variability

    • Introduction to Week 2

      Let's take a look ahead to what we'll be covering this week.

    • Hempel's Paradox

      Learn about the popular thought experiment, Hemple's Paradox and how it highlights the need for defined evidence and robust research questions.

    • Sampling

      Learn more about the inherent limitations of sampling and how variability can impact findings.

    • Variability

      Learn how variability impacts research studies and why researchers need to plan for it in their study designs.

    • Sample size and variability

      Practise making scientific observations to experience first-hand how sample size and variability can impact research.

    • Assessment

      This test will help you verify your understanding of the topics covered in Week 1 and Week 2. To earn a Certificate of Achievement on this course, you need to score an average of 70% or above on all test steps in the course.

    • Bringing it all together

      Let's reflect on what we've covered this week and take a look at what's coming up next.

  • Week 3

    Study design

    • Introduction to Week 3

      Let's take a look ahead to what we'll be covering this week.

    • Generalisability

      Learn how researchers make sure their findings are relevant and applicable to populations beyond their selected sample.

    • Types of studies

      Learn some key terminology for investigating and discussing research studies.

    • Bringing it all together

      Let's reflect on what we've covered this week and take a look at what's coming up next.

  • Week 4

    Surveys and bias

    • Introduction to Week 4

      Let's take a look ahead to what we'll be covering this week.

    • Surveys and bias

      Learn about the different kinds of bias that can impact survey research and how researchers can mitigate bias in their survey design.

    • Leading questions

      Learn how the phrasing and framing of questions can influence respondents and impact research findings.

    • Bias and precision

      Discover how bias and precision impact the quality and reliability of research results.

    • Assessment

      This test will help you verify your understanding of the topics covered in Week 3 and Week 4. To earn a Certificate of Achievement on this course, you need to score an average of 70% or above on all test steps in the course.

    • Bringing it all together

      Let's reflect on what we've covered this week and take a look at what's coming up next.

  • Week 5

    Analysing results

    • Introduction to Week 5

      Let's take a look ahead to what we'll be covering this week.

    • What type of data is it?

      Learn the characteristics of different types of research data and how to choose an appropriate way to analyse them.

    • Rules for surveys

      Learn the core rules and principles for building sound surveys and analysing the data collected from them.

    • Right censoring

      Learn what right censoring is and how it can impact survey results.

    • Bringing it all together

      Let's reflect on what we've covered this week and take a look at what's coming up next.

  • Week 6

    Sampling gone wrong

    • Introduction to Week 6

      Let's take a look ahead to what we'll be covering this week.

    • Missing data

      Discover the far-reaching implications of missing data on research studies.

    • The Tinder Example

      Explore this real-world experiment example to learn the impacts of poor experiment design.

    • Experiment design

      Let's review an experiment design to uncover methodological flaws and re-design the experiment to make it more robust.

    • Over-extrapolation

      Learn how over-extrapolation can create misinformation and inaccurate conclusions.

    • Filter bubbles

      Learn what filter bubbles are and their implications for research that use online platforms or social media.

    • Wald's Planes

      Learn why it's important to critically evaluate the data at hand before drawing conclusions from it.

    • Assessment

      This test will help you verify your understanding of the topics covered in the course. To earn a Certificate of Achievement on this course, you need to score an average of 70% or above on all test steps in the course.

    • Bringing it all together

      Let's reflect on what we've covered this week and take a look at what's coming up next.

    • What's next?

      Congratulations on reaching the end of the course. Let's reflect on what we've covered over the past weeks and look at ways for you to carry on learning!

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explain how data is created and collected in surveys.
  • Explain common ways errors can be introduced into surveys and data collection practices.
  • Identify some common ways statistics can be used to mislead people.
  • Describe some common problems that can arise in research studies that impact research accuracy.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone interested in critically interpreting data and developing their data literacy skills.

It will be particularly useful for those who interact with data in their current role.

Who will you learn with?

Ashley is a PhD candidate at the University of Adelaide who focuses on how we can use natural language processing techniques to analyse historical data, particularly Australian World War I diaries.

Who developed the course?

The University of Adelaide

The University of Adelaide is a world-class teaching and research institution. They are committed to developing quality students and lifelong learners who are recognised for their skills, creativity, global outlook and ability to succeed.

  • World ranking

    Top 110Source: QS World University Rankings 2023

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save

$244.99 for one whole year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$134/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access

Free

Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 7 Apr 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Sale price available until 4 March 2024 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Sale price available until 4 March 2024 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

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