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Developing data literacies for graduate students in the social sciences

Presenter 1
Hailey Mooney
Michigan State University
Presenter 2
Jake Carlson
Purdue University

What competencies in working with data do graduate students in the Social Sciences need to acquire before they graduate? What roles can librarians and other information professionals play in teaching these competencies to graduate students? This paper will report on preliminary findings from an investigation into the data management competencies and skill gaps of graduate students in the social sciences. Building from the work of the Data Information Literacy (DIL) project (, this study uses an interview-based approach to discern how competencies in working with data are understood and valued by graduate students and their faculty advisors. The DIL project identified and employed 12 data competencies as starting points for interviews and for developing educational programming on data literacies for graduate students. As the original DIL project focused on students in five different STEM fields, this extended study into the social sciences (DIL-SS) will allow for comparisons of perceptions and practices between these disciplines. In addition, DIL-SS presents an opportunity to further develop the 12 DIL competencies and test their relevance to educational needs in the social sciences. Our findings will inform the work of librarians and others involved in offering data management education and consulting services in academic settings.

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