Find here the updated “Pol Soc Log Tables 2021-2022”. As I say in the introduction to the document, nothing here should be considered prescriptive, just my best attempt to help make the process of data-gathering and data analysis a little more accessible to students. Obviously, this focuses in on the various Index Rankings that students will be likely to see as they gather evidence for their essays. All the way through this process, I’m encouraging students to critically engage with these datasets in the following way…
They should ask themselves:
- How would I critique the methodology of each data set?
- What recommendations would I make to improve the usefulness of each data set?
- Why is the number of countries in each data set important? Who has been omitted, and why?
- How has Ireland’s relative position changed in these indices over time?
- What other international trends are relevant or interesting?
- And most importantly, how might I appropriately deploy the data within each of the indices into different exam essays?
In each case students might well come to different conclusions, and that’s fine, so long as they can give a reasonable justification for the ways in which they have interpreted the different data sets.
I’m hoping that teachers will be able to guide students through this process in a meaningful way and have included a few sample exercises, designed to help to solidify both personal engagement with data, and a critical evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of indices in general.
The most important thing that students should “take away” from this process, however, is the empty box at the end of each longer explanation of the data from pages 6-24. Make sure you are seeing which areas of the course, or which Key Thinker, or each SDG, that each index might most comfortably link to in an exam essay. Maybe there’s only 2-3 pieces of data that you’ll use in the final exam, but at least you’ll have engaged with that process in a critical manner.
If you do nothing else with this except quickly glance at the ‘Headline Data’ on page 2, then it might be 15 minutes of a Pol-Soc student’s time well spent.
As ever, I’m just giving my best guess as to what I think might be useful and will gladly engage with any “constructive criticism”…
I hope this helps!
30 November, 2021.