Our Data Literacy Research Findings

January 8, 2016 in Impact, Update


In 2015 School of Data started its first research project to understand data literacy efforts around the world. In the lead up to the publication of the final report, we’re publishing a series of blog posts to share our findings. The goal is to provide them in an accessible format, benefitting both data literacy practitioners and a wider network of peers. Hopefully, this examination of techniques and methodologies currently employed by actors within and outside the network can provide with a pool of knowledge to be used in building and developing data literacy efforts.

For this research project we aimed to examine the effectiveness of current data literacy efforts, particularly in relation to social change work. This research is specifically aimed to empower the School of Data Steering Committee to take strategic decisions about the programme going forward and along with the School of Data network members, build on the successes to date.  We specifically looked to answer the question: What are the recurring topics when speaking about data literacy in social change/justice work?

We have conducted a series of semi-structured interviews with data literacy practitioners, and desk research to collect data and literature on data literacy. This has been analysed with the goal of improving data literacy practice in the short term, informing efforts to provide data literacy in the long run.

In the coming weeks we will be sharing our findings here under the following topics:

  1. Defining Data Literacy – January 8th
  2. Data Literacy Methodologies – January 14th
  3. Measuring the Impact of Data Literacy Efforts – January 21st
  4. Which Business Models for Data Literacy Efforts? – January 28th
  5. Improving Data Literacy Efforts – February 4th
  6. List of resources we used during our research – February 11th


Mariel Garcia provided research assistance and Dirk Slater from FabRiders provided research advisory. Guidance for their work was provided by Marco Pires, School of Data Coordinator; Milena Marin, former School of Data Coordinator and Katelyn Rogers, Project Manager at Open Knowledge International.

We are especially thankful to the following people who advised us during this process:

  • Javiera Atenas (Management Science and Innovation Department, University College London, United Kingdom),
  • Becky Faith (Department of Computing and Communications, Open University, United Kingdom),
  • Rahul Bhargava (Center for Civic Media, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States),
  • Silvana Fumega (University of Tasmania, Australia)
  • Fabrizio Scrollini (Iniciativa Latinoamericana por los Datos Abiertos, Uruguay).

The following people were gracious enough to provide us with insightful interviews that helped us develop our research:

  • Allen Gunn, Aspiration;
  • Ariel Merpert, Chequeado;
  • Emma Prest, Data Kind UK;
  • Eva Constantaras, Internews;
  • Fabio Campos, Oi Futuro;
  • Gabriela Rodriguez;
  • Jason Norwood-Young, Raymond Joseph and Jennifer Walker, Code for South Africa;
  • Juan Manuel Casanueva, SocialTIC;
  • Maya Ganesh, Tactical Technology Committee;
  • Natalia Mazotte, School of Data Brazil;
  • Nisha Thompson, Data Meet;
  • Rahul Bhargava, Data Therapy;
  • Rebecca Kahn, P2P University;
  • Ye Sheng, IREX;
  • Zara Rahman, the engine room.

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