Of course, all of our blogs make for great classroom material, but our newest blog, Graphic Sociology, is particularly good for teaching. It’s especially useful for courses on research methods and the presentation of data.
Graphic Sociology is run by Laura Norén, a PhD candidate in sociology at New York University. Laura’s research is on the impact of design on social behavior and she’s also co-founder of a web design company, so she’s a good person to listen to on this subject.
Each post pulls a particular graphic that tries to represent social data visually. Laura does a great job of pulling graphics from a wide range of sources on just about any topic imaginable. Some examples:
- Cigarette taxes and smoking rates
- Web browser market share over time
- Internal migration within the US
The great thing about Graphic Sociology is that the posts work on many levels. Undergraduates and non-sociologists can appreciate it because the information presented is fascinating and the discussion of how the graphics can lead and mislead readers makes for a good exercise in critical thinking. If you’re teaching a course on research methods, this blog is a great resource for classroom material.
For graduate students, sociologists or anyone else who has to present data as part of their job, the blog is a great place to learn what we’re doing wrong and to get ideas for how to present our data in new, more powerful ways. For example, you may not care about web browser market share, but you may be interested in the cool technique for representing data over time used in that graphic.