Skip to main content

Research Data Services @ Georgia State University Library: RDS@GSU ~ Undergraduate
Get Data Lit! Contest

GSU Undergraduate Get Data Lit! Contest

Show off your data literacy skills -- and win some $$$!


$$$ PRIZES $$$

1st place: $100 Amazon gift card | 2nd place: $75 Amazon gift card | 3rd place: $50 Amazon gift card


We know you've been there...

You're hanging out on twitter, instagram, or some other social media or regular media outlet, and you're bombarded with news or memes or opinions that are not backed up with any actual data/statistics/scholarly research -- or they share so-called "facts" that offer data/statistics/scholarly research that is questionable, or is misrepresented, or is not documented as to where it came from, or only scratches the surface on the issue...When this happens: Do you get fired up to look for some solid data/statistics/scholarly research to refute what you're seeing, or to verify it, or to explore it more deeply? If so...

This contest with $$$ prizes is for YOU!  


Want to learn more?


Important Deadlines and Dates:




  • February 10-14, 2020, each day from 11:30am-12:30pm
  • You are not required to attend any of the help sessions -- they are optional.

In CURVE (Library South, 2nd floor)

  • DAY ONE: Contestants 1 through 5 -- Tuesday, April 7, 2020, 10:00am-11:30am
  • DAY TWO: Contestants 6 through 10 --Wednesday, April 8, 2020, 3:30pm-5:00pm
  • Presentations file due: Sunday, April 5, 2020, by Midnight.

In CURVE (Library South, 2nd floor)

  • SUBMISSIONS DUE: Monday, March 9, 2020, by Midnight (late submissions will not be accepted)



In CURVE (Library South, 2nd floor)

Contest Details

Contest Details

  1. Aspiring contestants (GSU undergraduates only) find something they saw via social media/media (tweet, facebook, instagram, meme, news snippet citing a study, TikTok or YouTube clip, etc.) that makes them want to take a deeper dive into data/statistics/scholarly research related to it. For example:
    • ​​They see a tweet that says "immigrants are hurting our economy," and they wonder if there's data/statistics/scholarly research to support that statement, or
    • Their facebook friend shares a meme related to gun control, and they want to find data/statistics/scholarly research to share with the friend to better inform their opinion, or
    • They see a meme with a map that's visualizing data/statistics in a way that they think misrepresents the data/statistics and want to share their critique of how the visualization misrepresents the data/statistics.
    • And so on.
  2. They find data/statistics/scholarly research sources to dig deeper into the item they picked -- for example, sources to refute it, or verify it, or dig deeper into its nuances, etc.
  3. They submit an entry proposal via the <ENTRY SUBMISSION FORM>
  4. Entry submissions are reviewed by the Library's Research Data Services (RDS) Team, and the top 10 entries are selected to compete in the contest.
    • SELECTED CONTESTANTS NOTIFIED: Friday, March 20, 2020
  5. Those selected to be contestants create a brief presentation (10 minutes maximum length) that they will present on the Library's CURVE interactWall at the contest.
  6. The 10 contestants will be assigned a day to present, with five presenting on Day One and five presenting on Day Two. Each contestant will have 10 minutes for their presentations on the Library's CURVE interactWall, followed by 5 minutes of questions from the judges.
      • DAY ONE: Contestants 1 through 5 -- Tuesday, April 7, 2020,10:00am-11:30am, in CURVE (Library South, 2nd Floor) 
      • DAY TWO: Contestants 6 through 10 -- Wednesday, April 8, 2020, 3:30pm-5:00pm, in CURVE (Library South, 2nd Floor)
    • IMPORTANT: Contestants are required to submit their presentation file to Mandy Swygart-Hobaugh ( no later than Sunday, April 5, 2020, by Midnight, so that the file can be tested on the CURVE interactWall to ensure that there are no technological difficulties the day of the contest.
  7. PRIZES AWARDED on Thursday, April 30, 2020, at 1:00pm in CURVE (Library South, 2nd Floor): As part of the RDS@GSU Data Certificate ceremony, contest winners will receive prizes, and all contestants will receive certificates of participation.
    • 1st place: $100 Amazon gift card, 1st place ribbon
    • 2nd place: $75 Amazon gift card, 2nd place ribbon
    • 3rd place: $50 Amazon gift card, 3rd place ribbon
    • All contestants: Certificates recognizing their contest participation
  8. OPTIONAL: If they wish, the winners can create a stand-alone presentation that will be looped on the Library's CURVE interactWall after the contest for everyone to see and admire their sweet data literacy skills.


Email Mandy at

Contest Entry Information

Contest Entry Information

To enter this contest, you must be a currently enrolled GSU undergraduate student who meets the additional criteria specified in the Contest Eligibility Criteria box on this page.


SUBMISSIONS DUE: Monday, March 9, 2020, by Midnight

  • Late submissions will not be accepted.

NOTE: Failure to follow the required procedures of the entry process will result in automatic disqualification from the contest.
  1. Complete the online <ENTRY SUBMISSION FORM>
  2. When prompted in the entry submission form, upload your PRESENTATION SUMMARY as a Word document file, using the required ENTRY SUBMISSION TEMPLATE to guide the content and organization of your Word file.


The Word document file uploaded with your entry submission form, which *must* follow the ENTRY SUBMISSION TEMPLATE, must contain a PRESENTATION SUMMARY (ideally no more than 300 words, not including citations) that includes the following:

  1. The social media/media item you've selected.
    • If it's available online, please include the internet link/URL for it.
    • If appropriate, also copy an image or screen capture of your item into the Word document (for example, an image of a meme, a screen capture of a tweet, etc.)
  2. A brief discussion of why the social media/media item has driven you to take a deeper dive into data/statistics/scholarly research related to it. Below are possible questions you might address:
    • Why do you think it's questionable in terms of data/statistics/scholarly research to back it up? 
    • What are your concerns about how the data/statistics/scholarly research are being represented?
    • Why are you curious to dig deeper into data/statistics/scholarly research related to it -- what do you want to explore, or what do you think you'll find?
    • IMPORTANT: You are not required to address all or any of the above questions – you may come up with different questions/points to discuss. What's most important is that your discussion should reflect a *critique of* or *intellectual curiosity about* the data/statistics/scholarly research related to your social media/media item.
  3. A brief discussion of a minimum of one data/statistics/scholarly research source you plan to use in your presentation to critique/more deeply explore your social media/media item.
  4. Citation(s) for your source(s) in one of the following citation styles formats:

NOTE: Failure to follow the required procedures of the entry process will result in automatic disqualification from the contest.


  • Entry submissions will be reviewed by the judges starting March 10.
  • The top 10 entries will be selected to compete in the contest.
  • Submitters will be notified whether or not they were selected for the contest by Friday, March 20, 2020.






Email Mandy at

Contest Eligibility Criteria

Contest Eligibility Criteria

These currently enrolled GSU undergraduate students *are eligible* to be in the contest:

  • Those seeking an Associates degree (2-Year undergraduate, all campuses including Perimeter College)
  • Those seeking a Bachelors degree (4-Year undergraduate student, all campuses including Perimeter College)

These GSU students *are NOT eligible* to be in the contest:

  • Non-degree undergraduates (e.g., Postbaccalaureate, Transient)
  • Degree-seeking undergraduates who are not currently enrolled at GSU
  • Dual Undergraduate-Graduate students
  • Graduate students

Why only GSU Undergraduates?

While graduate students regularly work with data in their studies, undergraduates have comparatively limited opportunities to critically engage with data. This contest gives GSU undergraduates additional incentives to flex their data literacy muscles and show off their data savviness.

GSU Library Resources

The Library can help you compete!

You are not alone! The Library has resources to help you prepare for your contest submission and presentation:

  1. HELP SESSIONS (OPTIONAL): Every day the week of February 10-14, 2020, from 11:30am-12:30pm, in CURVE (Library South, 2nd Floor), members of the Library's Research Data Services (RDS) Team will hold help sessions. You are not required to attend any of the help sessions -- they are optional. You are welcome to come to multiple help sessions if you wish.
    • Help Sessions Format:
      • First 30 minutes: Two RDS Team members will give example contest presentations, followed by brief explanations of how and where they looked for the sources in their presentation -- to give you ideas about (1) what a contest presentation might look like, and (2) where you might find relevant and reputable sources to use in your own contest entry/presentation.
      • Remaining 30 minutes: The RDS Team will be available for you to get hands-on help to prepare for your contest entry/presentation. 
  2. EXAMPLE PRESENTATIONS - RECORDINGS: Click here for RECORDED EXAMPLE CONTEST PRESENTATIONS the RDS Team made to give you ideas for how to approach creating a presentation.
  3. ONE-ON-ONE HELP: You are encouraged to contact the Library's Research Data Services (RDS) Team or Librarians to make appointments for one-on-one help with finding sources to use in your contest entry/presentation.
  4. LIBRARY RESOURCES: The Library has lots of resources and guidance for identifying relevant and reputable data/statistics/scholarly research sources for your contest entry/presentation:
  5. WORKSHOPS: The Library's Research Data Services (RDS) Team offers various workshops on data analysis and visualization -- might be useful if you want to incorporate data analysis or visualization into your contest presentation.
  6. EXAMPLE ENTRY SUBMISSION: Be sure to download the Example Entry Submission we created -- it might help you in creating your own entry submission.
  7. JUDGING CRITERIA RUBRIC: Be sure to download the Judging Criteria Rubric -- it will help guide you in creating your contest entry/presentation.

More Data Stuff!

More Data Stuff!

Check out what else the Library's Research Data Services (RDS) Team has going on!


Data After Dark Workshops

Work or other daytime commitments make it hard to attend daytime workshops? No worries -- check out our Data After Dark workshops offered after 6pm! DETAILS @



RDS@GSU Data Certification

Attend a minimum of five of our data workshops in a certification period, and receive an RDS@GSU Data Certificate! DETAILS @

Example Contest Presentations

Example Contest Presentations

Below are recordings and slides of the example contest presentations the Library's Research Data Services (RDS) Team created to give you ideas about (1) what a contest presentation might look like, and (2) where you might find relevant and reputable sources to use in your own contest entry/presentation.

"Is the Economy Really the Best It's Ever Been?" -- Example Contest Presentation by Joel Glogowski

Questions for Joel? Click here for his contact information.

"Get Data Lit! #data #health #vaping" -- Example Contest Presentation by Kelsey Jordan

Questions for Kelsey? Click here for her contact information.

"Banning Books...Is it Really a Thing?" -- Example Contest Presentation by Mandy Swygart-Hobaugh

Questions for Mandy? Click here for her contact information.

"Confusing Cartography & Misleading Maps" -- Example Contest Presentation by Jeremy Walker

Questions for Jeremy? Click here for his contact information.

What's Data Literacy?

What "data literacy" is, and why you should care

There are various definitions of "data literacy" -- the two below capture the essence of its meaning:

  • Qlik of the Data Literacy Project describes data literacy as "the ability to read, work with, analyze, and argue with data."​
  • Carlson et al. (2011) take the definition a step further by stressing that being data literate also means being a *critical consumer* of data/statistics, noting that "data literacy involves understanding what data mean, including how to read charts appropriately, draw correct conclusions from data, and recognize when data are being used in misleading or inappropriate ways."

Data skills are highly valued by today's employers -- being called "the most lucrative skill[s] to have" and "the most valuable skill[s] you can learn." By honing your data literacy skills through taking Research Data Services (RDS) workshops, or getting RDS@GSU Data Certified, or competing in the Undergraduate Get Data Lit! Contest, you demonstrate to potential employers that you are committed to growing the skills that they look for in hires. In other words, data literacy skills can help you get a job. Similarly, the data literacy knowledge and skills you apply in competing in the Undergraduate Get Data Lit! Contest map to various College-to-Career (CTC) Competency Skills that employers value: