Unlocking Insights through Data Analysis

This course builds upon the foundations established in Theory and Practice, with a greater emphasis on subjective questions and meaning. In this course, our focus will be on the “why” of data analysis. You will explore these questions through practical and applicable case study examples, and hands-on exercises using spreadsheet and spatial software packages.

An understanding of the needs of end users and target audiences from the outset, establishes principles that an analyst should adhere to throughout various stages of a project. Data analysis in support of evidence-based decision making should highlight important results, and craft a narrative that informs end users of meaningful insights within the context of the research problem. This is the core focus of this course.

You will develop your ability to ask and answer complex questions through critical assessments of published reports, and class presentations. In group discussions you will consider privacy issues and the ethics of data collection, management, analysis and use, and reflect on your ethical obligations.

This course is available at the following time(s) and location(s):

This course is available at the following time(s) and location(s):

Campus Session(s) Instructor(s) Cost Seats available  
Online, Vancouver 4 Craig E. Jones
Samuel Walker
$1412.00 10 Register

Schedule clarification: This course consists of two online sessions on Wednesday evenings (6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.) and four in-class sessions at the Vancouver campus on Fridays and Saturdays (9 a.m. – 5 p.m.).

What will you learn?

By the end of this course, you will be able to do the following:

  • Identify the needs and capabilities of end-users
  • Design a research plan using methods and data appropriate for a target audience
  • Implement a research design with Microsoft Excel and Esri ArcGIS
  • Document analysis processes to ensure transparency and reproducibility
  • Learn best practices in the use of summaries, charts and visualizations to craft data analysis results into an informed and context-sensitive narrative
  • Critically assess the potential limitations and biases embedded in quantitative research methods and materials
  • Articulate the strengths and limitations of a data analysis project
  • Discuss ethical issues concerning the access, retrieval, analysis and management of data

How will you learn?

  • Lectures with hands-on practice in Microsoft Excel, Graphical Information Systems, and spatial data
  • Class discussions and team-based work
  • In-class assignments

How will you be evaluated?

You will receive a post-course assignment, guidance and feedback.

Hardware and software requirements

  • You are required to bring a PC laptop (with full administrative privileges) to each class.
  • Your laptop must have a recent install of Microsoft Excel.
  • You will be using Beyond 20/20 (an open-source data publishing, dissemination and analytics tool), installed in the previous course.
  • You will be required to install and use Esri ArcGIS. Installation instructions will be provided during the introductory online session on November 6.
  • Online sessions in this course will be delivered through SFU's online course management system, Canvas. You will receive course details and Canvas access instructions on the first day of the course. You can check if your browser is compatible with Canvas here.
  • New to online learning? See Online Programs and Courses for helpful videos and additional information.

Textbooks and learning materials

We will provide custom course materials.

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