Creating an Understanding of Data Literacy for a Data-driven Society

Wolff, Annika; Gooch, Daniel; Cavero Montaner, Jose J.; Rashid, Umar and Kortuem, Gerd (2016). Creating an Understanding of Data Literacy for a Data-driven Society. Journal of Community Informatics, 12(3) pp. 9–26.



Society has become increasingly reliant on data, making it necessary to ensure that all citizens are equipped with the skills needed to be data literate. We argue that the foundations for a data literate society begin by acquiring key data literacy competences in school. However, as yet there is no clear definition of what these should be. This paper explores the different perspectives currently offered on both data and statistical literacy and then critically examines to what extent these address the data literacy needs of citizens in today’s society. We survey existing approaches to teaching data literacy in schools, to identify how data literacy is interpreted in practice. Based on these analyses, we propose a definition of data literacy that is focused on employing an inquiry-based approach to using data to understand real world phenomena. The contribution of this paper is the creation of a common foundation for teaching and learning data literacy skills.

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