Quantitative Reasoning for the Public Interest

Before we even began the course, the two teachers had decided to teach and explore EWS using three different methods:

  1. A survey of students enrolled in Interdisciplinary Programs
  2. A content analysis of student evaluations of faculty
  3. Case studies of transformational moments in each student's own learning experience.

On these pages you will find three kinds of data: numbers, text and images. The Survey produced a mixture of numbers and text. The Content Analysis was strictly numerical and the Case Studies are presented as text and images. The numbers are largely presented in the form of frequencies – totals and percentages – as opposed to data tested for significant differences. The written answers to questions on the survey are presented in full, and also illustrated by a few key examples. The Case stories are summarized and also presented in the form of a short multi-media presentation.

Course Description:

Students in this course designed, conducted and analyzed the findings of a study of student learning at Evergreen. In the process they learned about survey and question design, informed consent, content analysis and data coding and analysis. The latter was carried out within the computer program SPSS. Each student undertook a complementary piece of qualitative research as well. Underlying our work were two key principles: that information from a variety of sources in a variety of modes creates a persuasive analysis and that people should be encouraged to engage in the formal practice of reflection on the collective as well as on the individual levels.

Project Participants: