Intro to Data Analysis for Communication (Undergraduate): 2020 Spring, 2020 Fall

Data science is becoming an indispensable part of understanding communication behavior and effects. In this course, we will learn the basic tools of data analysis and the R programming language. We apply them to answer various questions in communication science. Can reluctant parents be convinced to vaccinate their children? Can get-out-the-vote mailings mobilize voters? Does the diffusion of political rumors affect public opinion? Are toxic comments more likely to go viral on Facebook? These are examples of the questions that we will answer using preexisting datasets as well as a new online experiment that we will run together as part of the course.

There is no prerequisite for this class and students are not expected to have any familiarity with statistical programming. Students will be given step-by-step instructions and we will work together to analyze the datasets. For the final project, each student will write a research note based on their analysis of the new experimental data. At the end of this course, students will be able to use quantitative data to extract statistical patterns and answer empirical questions. These skills will be extremely useful in various settings, from academia to the media and tech industry, and more.