Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The main goals of this course are: • to understand what data are and what their role in society is; • to discriminate data based on specific use; • to synthesize, create visualizations and representations of data; • to understand the issues involved in the use of data; • to promote critical thinking based on information from data analysis • to recognize when data are tampered with, misrepresented and used in a misleading manner • to communicate information about the data to people who are not expert on the subject (data storytelling). After completing this course, students will be able to: • Provide examples of how people use data every day • Apply critical thinking skills when working with data • Identify data analysis tools and techniques appropriate for the analysis

Course contents

part  1: Transforming data into knowledge

1. How to obtain the data: institutional sources, open data and ad hoc surveys

2. How to process data: the basic tools of statistical analysis.

3. How to represent the data: the main types of graphs


Part 2  Reasoning on the information obtained with the analyses

1.  Infographics and errors in graphical representations

2.  Data story telling


Part 3 (Practical activity): Critical evaluation of case studies from society and research contexts


David Spiegelhalter, L’arte della statistica. Cosa ci insegnano i dati, Piccola Biblioteca, Einaudi, 2020

Alberto Cairo, Come i grafici mentono. Capire meglio le informazioni visive, Raffaello Cortina Editore, 2020

Teaching methods

Lessons, laboratory activities and case study

Assessment methods

The student must written  a report describing the results of the analysis on a real data set. The report must be sent two days before the exam round and will be discussed on the day of the exam.

Teaching tools

slides; papers and data open source

Office hours

See the website of Stefania Mignani