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Flash Data Collection and Analysis: A First Day Activity
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First Day
Data Collection
Data Analysis
Correlation and Causation

How to Cite

Hunter, Joanna. 2018. “Flash Data Collection and Analysis: A First Day Activity”. TRAILS: Teaching Resources and Innovations Library for Sociology, June. Washington DC: American Sociological Association.


This first day activity for an introductory class is designed to introduce students to the discipline of sociology, particularly its research methods. Students engage in "flash data collection" by quickly filling out a card about a classmate and collecting data on their attributes, then they use that data to draw inferences about their subjects on a...

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Subject Area(s):
Introduction to Sociology/Social Problems
Resource Type(s):
Class Activity
Class Level(s):
College 100
Class Size(s):

Usage Notes

This activity is designed to take about twenty minutes of class time on the first day of the term. I have used it in classes ranging in size from thirty-five to ninety students, but it could be adapted for other sizes. The attached file includes slides and a sample spreadsheet assuming a class of ninety students using a random name generator.

Download this resource to see full details. Download this resource to see full details.

Learning Goals and Assessments

Learning Goal(s):

  1. After completing this activity, students will have been introduced to the concepts of variables, attributes, correlation and causation, and the role of empirical data collection and analysis in the discipline of sociology.

Goal Assessment(s):

  1. Students will demonstrate their familiarity with the concepts listed above by using them appropriately in Phase 3 of the exercise.

When using resources from TRAILS, please include a clear and legible citation.

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