How To Make Sense Of Data/ Analyze Information

Students looking at charts to make sense of the data

The projects that students are working on usually consist of a problem that they are trying to solve. Solutions may include an analysis of the problem in the form of a report, a plan or an object that students build. Arriving at these conclusions requires students to make sense of their data by analyzing and interpreting them. Observations in the classroom have demonstrated that this is the most difficult component of the investigative web.

How can you help students make sense of the data

  • Transform the data into a different form: seeing the data in new ways gives students new opportunities to understand the data. Students can create tables, graphs, diagrams, or other visualizations
  • Create models: creating models helps students combine disparate aspects of their work, this helps them perceive patterns and trends, which is an important element of analysis

Other visualizations: combining graphing techniques with other visual techniques should be encouraged because by representing data and ideas in different forms, students develop deep understanding of the content

How To Do It

  • When writing conclusions, encourage students to restate the purpose
  • Encourage students to describe their findings and show how they answered the initial questions
  • Encourage students to write a general statement that relates their findings to their purpose
  • Students need to explain their findings. This is accomplished by making connections to background information students have found and to their data
  • When writing conclusion, train students to ask guiding questions that help them think about their conclusions as they relate to their data and purpose, such as:
    • Did you restate the purpose?
    • Did you present your major findings?
    • What conclusion do your findings indicate?
    • Did your findings and conclusions link to the purpose?
    • Are your findings linked to your data?
    • How do your findings compare to information you found on the topic?
    • Do they support the information you found or are they inconsistent?
    • How might you explain your findings?
  • Encourage students to restate their data in different forms. For example, they can create a chart out of the data and learn a lot from it
  • When the data is missing, students can still get some statistics by using AI

How to Analyze Your Data With AI

  • Students who need to rely on statistics of information they are unable to collect, can use an application called, in which they can provide a prompt of the data they want to get access to and the chartgpt will translate the data into a chart.
  • Many existing applications, such as Excel now provide AI functionalities that can provide a lot of data in the form of charts that can become eye openers for students when trying to make sense of data they collected or have access to. Even if students don’t know how to use Excel beyond the input of data, now Excel has a button called ‘Analyze Data’ which allows the user to describe what they are looking for and it will immediately generate a chart to represent the data.