ISU Extension and Outreach Now Offering Data Literacy Workshops

June 4, 2019, 8:14 am | Sandra Burke, Sandra Oberbroeckling

AMES, Iowa -- These days more and more information and news are being shared in the form of numeric or graphic data. It is essential that Iowa communities, leaders and residents be able to use these data to make educated and wise decisions on critical issues and policies.

Sandra Burke.Sandra Burke, sociologist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Community and Economic Development, is now offering data literacy workshops to help Iowans learn the skills needed to understand, visualize, interpret and practice with data relevant to communities, organizations and counties.

"The data literacy workshops can include a wide variety of topics, reviews of the data included in the Data for Decision Makers profiles, or an in-depth look at selected measures, indicators and trends," said Burke. "The workshops can also provide participants with knowledge and skills to discuss data and bridge to applications and decision making with the data."

The specific topics and modules to be included in any given workshop will be decided in conjunction with the client group and their interests and preferences, and will be two to three hours in length.

Topics and modules will be highly interactive with activities and group discussions to engage and enhance learning and understanding by the participants. Examples of topics and modules include:

  • “Walk-through” ISU Extension and Outreach’s Data for Decision Makers: county, city, legislative districts.
  • “Walk-through” the Health Data for Decision Makers: county health profile reports.
  • Examine trends and compare and contrast among counties and cities.
  • Making and interpreting graphs and other visuals.
  • Mapping concepts along with access to ISU Extension and Outreach’s Indicators Portal mapping capabilities.
  • Using and understanding the American Community Survey.
  • Using and understanding concepts such as sampling for surveys, margins of error, mean and median.
  • Indicators and trends for race and Hispanic origin.
  • Indicators and measures for income and poverty, adjustment for inflation.
  • Population trends including age, income, households, immigration and English-language learners.
  • The data behind the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s County Health Rankings and Road Maps.

Groups or communities interested in these workshops can contact Sandra Burke at 515-294-9307 or


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