Teaching Data Science in Political Science: Integrating Methods with Substantive Curriculum

Teaching Data Science in Political Science: Integrating Methods with Substantive Curriculum

By Unislawa Williams, Robert Brown, Marilyn Davis, Tinaz Pavri, Fatemeh Shafiei, Spelman College

The importance of data science in society today is undeniable, and now is the time to prepare data science talent (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine 2018). Data science demands collaboration, but collaboration within political science departments has been weak in teaching data science. Bridging substantive and methods courses can critically aid in teaching data science because it facilitates this collaboration. Our innovation is to integrate data science into both substantive and methods courses through a dedicated data science course and modules on data science topics taught in substantive courses. This approach allows not only for more opportunities for teaching and practice of data science methods but also helps students to understand how social, economic, and political biases and incentives can affect their data.

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