Week 10 – November 7

Data and Its Uses

What is “big data” and how does it change how we study history? How is data organized for history projects? Playing with some historical data.

**Final project proposals are due! Please turn in a hard copy of your project proposals before class. Proposals will be considered late after 7:35pm and will lose points per the course policy. Please plan to be on time.

Before Class:

  • Read: James Grossman, “Big Data: An Opportunity for Historians?” Perspectives on History, March 2012.
  • Read: Paul H. Blackman and Vance McLaughlin, ”The Espy File on American Executions User Beware,” Homicide Studies 15, no. 3 (2011): pp. 209-227. {Available through SAGE Journals via Mason Libraries.]

In-class Workshop:

I will share the Espy File on American Executions. We will be working in spreadsheet software (Excel or Google Sheets, etc) to “tidy” the data, then we’ll look for patterns in the data.