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Teaching About Police Violence with Open Source Police Shootings Data and Census Data
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Police Shootings
Quantitative Methods

How to Cite

Byron, Reginald. 2017. “Teaching About Police Violence With Open Source Police Shootings Data and Census Data”. TRAILS: Teaching Resources and Innovations Library for Sociology, December. Washington DC: American Sociological Association.


Given a larger push for developing quantitative literacy among undergraduates, the field of sociology has recently advocated that professors integrate data analysis and mathematical skills into their substantive courses (Howry and Rodriguez 2006; Wilder 2009). This class assignment allows students to gain personal experience working with open source...

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Subject Area(s):
Resource Type(s):
Class Level(s):
College 200
Class Size(s):

Usage Notes

Please refer to the usage notes in the document.

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Learning Goals and Assessments

Learning Goal(s):

  1. Students will learn how to find different sets of publicly available data, recode them where necessary, and merge them into one Excel data file.
  2. Students will learn how to run univariate and simple bivariate (correlational) analyses using Excel and how to interpret these results.
  3. Students will develop a sociological understanding of police violence and be able to contextualize their analyses within a larger sociological/criminological literature and offer policy recommendations.

Goal Assessment(s):

  1. Students will be required to send a completed data file to the professor.
  2. Students will be given a hypothetical short answer question requiring them to understand how correlations work. There was one positive correlation and one negative correlation that needed to be interpreted.
  3. Students will be assigned a final paper that requires them to answer five prompts, weave relevant criminological literature into their quantitative analyses to demonstrate their nuanced understandings of American police violence, and propose policy sugges

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