Join us on a Data Expedition and get to grips with data
360Giving’s Data Expeditions deliver a double whammy, using a fun and dynamic step-by-step group process to both skill up organisations in the handling and wrangling of all kinds of data while throwing light on the issues they want answering.
One summer day last year, the Blagrave Trust approached us to see if we could help a group of funders in East Sussex to map cold spots in their area. Since the term ‘cold spot’ can be defined in different ways, we decided to try a new approach to answering this question via a Data Expedition.
What is a Data Expedition?
A Data Expedition is a process for turning data from an amorphic idea into concrete evidence that can support an organisation’s work. It was developed by School of Data, a network that aims to empower civil society organisations, journalists and citizens with the skills they need to use data effectively. The expedition is a guided workshop in which participants go on a journey, from identifying the question they want to answer, finding data that can help do that and then using the data to try and answer the question.
In this dynamic learning process where skills are passed peer to peer, each participant is allocated a specific workshop role – they can be data scouts, analysts, designers, policy makers or any other role that can help with answering the question that has been identified. Together and with laptops, participants work in teams of 2-3 people to tackle a challenge. By the end of the workshop, each team will have one output to share with the group which can be used to support future work on the topic. In the process they will have learned new data skills, found out where they can access data and what can be done with it.
Each Data Expedition is tailored to the organisation’s need and topic of interest, based on this step-by-step user guide.
Data expeditions usually take between 1-3 days. Since most of the organisations we work with are time poor, we split the work into smaller workshops to fit their schedule. The productivity of each workshop is impressive in terms of acquisition of new skills and understanding and well worth the hours’ investment.
Our East Sussex Data Expedition started with a question workshop where we worked on shaping what we wanted to know into a clear question: How can we fund better for community resilience? A follow-up workshop with the funders group and OCSI (who kindly let us use their office in Brighton) took the expedition to a new level as they identified relevant datasets and started to map grants made across East Sussex.
At the end of the day, participants had data in their hands that they understood, knew how and where they could find new data and how to do basic analysis as a result of peer learning. You can read OCSI’s summary of the expedition here. Our next workshop will focus on improving the data and getting better analysis.
Since this workshop we have run similar events with UKCF, and we are getting more requests for these Data Expeditions. If you would like to take part in an expedition and acquire new data skills and answers, send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org