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Easy Ways to Get Students Engaged with Data and Statistics

Plunge your students into data and statistics...but with floaties!

This guide highlights easy-to-use tools and resources for getting students engaged in using data/statistics without the headaches of requiring them to use complicated software or statistical coding.

Each box on this guide:

  • Links to one or more tools/resources
  • Links to "help resources" to use the tool/resource
  • Offers "lesson ideas" and/or teaching resources
Have tools/resources or lesson ideas to suggest?

Please reach out to Ashley or Mandy from the Research Data Service (RDS) Department with tools/resources and lesson ideas you would like to see shared on this guide -- we're happy to consider them!

Finding and Interpreting Statistical Tables


Creating Data Maps and Statistical Tables


Here are guides and videos from Social Explorer and a link to their knowledge base and FAQs.

Social Explorer maintains a blog to highlight its features, tools and data. The blog is broken down into categories, and the Case Studies category is particularly useful for those interested in lesson ideas. The Case Studies are written by Social Explorer users, many of them educators, who want to share their creative uses of the product. Here is a sampling of some of the Case Studies on the Social Explorer Blog:

Exploring Data Visualizations

Easy-to-use online tool to visualize relationships between variables and how they change over time. Global data on various topics for exploring global social inequalities.

Arranged on a "street" from poorest to richest, explore 30,000 photos of 264 families in 50 countries for a visual snapshot of social class/SES inequalities.


This "Gapminder Tools Guide" PDF file diagrams the various pieces of the Gapminder Tool.


Gapminder's "Teaching with Gapminder" page links to videos and guides to help use the Gapminder tools, plus links to various other resources for teaching basic data interpretation. Also checkout the Gapminder Answers videos and PPT slides page for potential lessons/class exercise ideas.

Using Public Opinion Polls


Polling the Nations: Here is a video overview exploring the newly-overhauled (as of 12/3/2020) Polling the Nations database. Roper iPoll: This page has webinars, and tutorials plus "classroom materials" that include lesson plans, sample teaching assignments, hands-on group exercises, sample syllabi, and SPSS exercises. 

This 10-minute presentation gives an example of taking a social media item and diving deeper into the polling data related to it, drawing from polls found in the Polling the Nations and Roper iPoll databases. This example presentation was created for the GSU Undergraduate Get Data Lit! Contest, but it could be easily adapted for a course assignment.

Analyzing Raw Data


An overview guide with some tips/tricks of using ICPSR at GSU, and an interactive hands-on tutorial and video tutorial that walk through ICPSR's key features.


ICPSR has compiled various "Teaching & Learning with ICPR" resources created especially for undergraduate faculty and students.

Their Data-Driven Learning Guides are stand-alone exercises that use online data analysis to teach social science concepts -- NO STATISTICAL SOFTWARE NEEDED!

  • These standardized exercises introduce (or reinforce) key concepts in the social sciences by guiding students through a series of questions and related data analyses.
  • Analyses are preset so students can focus on content rather than mechanics of data analysis.
  • To assist instructors with selection, guides are also categorized by the most sophisticated statistical test presented in the exercise -- you can filter by analysis method on the results screen.

Also checkout the Exercise Set (Modules) linked from ICPSR's Classroom Exercises page for sequenced activities (likely more appropriate for Research Methods courses and more substantively focused courses).