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Assignment: Using a Database to Foster Inquiry

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Objectives

 

Mastery of today's new literacy skills in technology depends on a prerequisite skill: the ability to evaluate critically, organize, synthesize, and manage the vast information resources that are now accessible through current technologies. The database is a powerful tool that addresses the need to make sense out of collections of information. Setting up a database and retrieving information from it are intellectual exercises that requires the ability to develop and use such critical-thinking skills as classifying, defining, categorizing, inferring, comparing, and contrasting. Research, inquiry, predicting, seeing relationships, and drawing generalizations are skills databases help develop.

Work through the following tutorials in order to prepare effectively for our database inquiry assignment. You will need to complete Tutorial 1 by Week 3 in order to participate in the in-class activities; Tutorial 2 will give you the background to complete your Database Survey assignment—you do not necessarily have to complete the activities described in Tutorial 2, but you should at least read it in order to understand how to create a database and publish the e-Survey.

You may work on the tutorials in the lab, or you can download a free 30-day trial from Inspiration at http://www.inspiration.com/FreeTrial/InspireData.

Tutorial 1: Analyzing Data Graphically

Tutorial 2: Creating a Database & Gathering Data or view an instructional video of this process

Assignment

You will apply the inquiry model by asking a question, gathering data on that question, and analyzing the data to answer the question or problem.

  1. Formulate a question, problem or issue that you would like to investigate. The question/problem needs to be more than just gathering a simple tally (i.e., "What is your favorite sport?"); think instead about looking for relationships, trends, meaningful connections, etc ("Does one's college experiences change their favorite sport from their childhood choice?").
  2. In InspireData, create a database with the appropriate fields necessary to gather the information that will be analyzed.
  3. After creating the database, convert it to an e-survey as detailed in Tutorial 2.
  4. Conduct your survey, and close it after you have gathered a sufficient number of responses. Try to collect at least 20 to 30 responses.
  5. Use whatever analysis seems appropriate (see Tutorial 1). Write a paragraph that includes the following:
    • Your question or problem;
    • The survey questions you used;
    • A description of your analysis and conclusion you reached. Include at least one graphical result (Venn diagram, stack plot, etc) to support your conclusion.
 

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