Data Science for the Social World

Instructor (with Mike Findley), University of Texas at Austin, Department of Government (GOV 355M), 2020

This course provides students with a comprehensive introduction to data science for the political and economic world. The skills that students acquire in the course will help them prepare for jobs by teaching practical data skills coupled with strong social science reasoning. Organized around a set of substantive themes and practical tasks, each class topic is motivated by real-world problems and then backed with data science skills to solve those problems. Emphasis is placed on developing proficiency in cleaning, manipulating, wrangling, scraping, visualizing, and mapping data. Most work is conducted in the software program R, and to a lesser extent through introductory exercises in other programs including Excel/Google Sheets and Python. In the process, students learn about good principles of working with data, including through version control with Github. The class takes place through asynchronous instruction, online coding practice problems, exams, and online instructor consultations. [Preliminary Syllabus]