Love Data Week’s theme this year focuses on data as an agent of change, specifically bringing attention to how a community might use data to bring about meaningful change to policy or society. Data activism is a specific type of social activism that aims to make affirmative use of data and technology for advocacy and social change. Through a social justice lens, data activism embraces data practices that embody transparency, accountability, nondiscrimination, dignity, and participation. In higher education, data activism researchers are encouraged to contribute to social justice issues by following best practice principles designed to “maintain an alignment with social justice objectives” (Lyons, et al., 2019, p.13). Lyons et al. (2019) offer the following guidelines for data collection, analysis, interpretation and application within a social justice scope:
The resources below offer further exploration of data activism and social justice research. The Research Support and Curricular Technology team is available to help faculty integrate data into courses and assignments.
Gutiérrez, M. (2018). Data activism and social change. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Lyons, H. Z., Bike, D. H., Ojeda, L., Johnson, A., Rosales, R., & Flores, L. Y. (2013). Qualitative research as social justice practice with culturally diverse populations. Journal for Social Action in Counseling & Psychology, 5(2), 10-25.
Strunk, & Locke, L. A. (2019). Research methods for social justice and equity in education (Strunk & L. A. Locke, Eds.; 1st ed. 2019.). Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-05900-2
Examples of social justice projects using open source datasets:
Resources for Research on Gender Identity, Sexual Behavior, and Sexual Orientation