Data Critique

Due: 11:59pm Tuesday, October 16, 2018.

Purpose: This assignment asks you to think critically about the dataset you have chosen, to consider the possibilities and limits to the questions you can ask and answer with your dataset. It also asks you to explore how and why your data were gathered, generated, and/or compiled. As we’ll discuss in class, all data is created and, therefore, subjective. It is incumbent upon us to understand the biases, objectives, and values of those who created the datasets with which we work as far as possible.

Task:Your data critique should explain fully:

  • what information is included in your dataset
  • what information, events, or phenomena your dataset can illuminate
  • what your dataset cannot reveal.


  1. how the data was generated
  2. what the original sources are
  3. what information is left out of the spreadsheet.
  4. You should also give your account of the ideological effects of the way in which your sources have been divided into data (your dataset’s ontology). If your dataset were your only source, what information would be left out?

Criteria for Success:

  • Length: Approximately 600-1000 words. No longer than 1000 words.
  • Free from all spelling and grammatical errors.
  • Answers all of the questions and prompts posed above.