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A quantitative and qualitative research that looks at the use of digital tools in the civics classroom, with a special focus on misinformation.

My Role   

UX Research

Survey

Interview

Data Analysis

Duration

6 months

Deliverables

Survey Questions

Interview Notes

Statistics

Data visualisation

Timeline
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Results presented at the 2022 Annual MPSA (Midwest Political Science Association) Conference.

Check the full length research paper.

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Research and the Problem

The rampant proliferation of misinformation through news media and social media has made it difficult for democratic citizens to keep informed about government and politics. Advocates stress that effective civic education should include teaching students to become critical consumers of news, training them to distinguish between fact and fiction, and helping them to become responsible producers and disseminators of information. Elementary and secondary school civics teachers have been placed in the position of battling the rise in misinformation through their lesson plans and curriculum interventions, a role that can be contentious. In this study, we employ an original national survey of civics, social studies, American Government, and history teachers to learn their perspectives and gain insight into this issue.
Aspects of our study

Teachers attitudes toward misinformation at school.

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Teaching strategies in combating misinformation, including the curriculum interventions and approaches they use.

Technologies and digital tools built to battle misinformation

Effectiveness and efficacy of those tools. 

Survey

A total of 1021 survey responses were collected which provide us reliable and usable data. Data were later analysed in SPSS. 

We then put the data in SPSS and try to understand the trend and its influencing factors. Crosstabs were run to examine the association between two or more categorical variables.

Interview
7 in-depth interviews were conducted to gain an understanding of the issue of misinformation in classrooms. Interviewees included students, teachers, and professionals from The Center for Civic Education.

Interview questions:

Interview notes:

Findings and Conclusion
  • Misinformation has become a serious problem.
  • Teachers’ perceptions of misinformation play a role in their attitudes towards addressing misinformation in the classroom.
  • Online resources and digital tools provide teachers with mechanisms for educating students about misinformation.
  • Professional development aimed at preparing teachers to deal with misinformation is needed.
What I learnt?
  • Structured research design: From initial research to the research question to the hypothesis, and to data collection... Research design is not a eureka moment of questions, it requires extensive reading on the topic and theories, a defined research topic and hypothesis, and the whole process is guided by principles.

  • Quantitative and Qualitative research skills: I learned ways to design and conduct surveys and interviews, and ways to code and analyse the data collected. I realised that the questions, the wording of the survey, and the logic of both surveys, all need to be carefully designed. One misuse of words can lead to confusion or misconception and affect the result. 

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