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Choosing healthy data for healthy relationships: how to use 5-point summaries, box and whisker plots, and correlation to understand global health trends.

Author(s): Andrea Huntoon1, John Doudna2, Pallavi Bhale3, Thalita Abrahão4, Alys Hugo5, Jennifer Lyon Adler6

1. Fox Valley Technical College 2. Lansing Community College 3. Montgomery College 4. Georgia State University Perimeter College 5. Everett Community College 6. Maysville Community and Technical College

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This module utilizes a user-friendly database exploring data selection, box-and-whisker plot, and correlation analysis. It also guides students on how to make a poster of their data and conclusions.


In this module, students will navigate through a user-friendly database called Gapminder that contains multiple public health-related datasets - students will learn here how to distinguish and select different types of data. Then comes data exploration, where students will run a "quality test" by identifying median, quartiles, minimum and maximum values and outliers (the villains of good-quality data!). To visually represent their 5-point summary, students will build a box-and-whisker plot. In the second part of the module, students will formulate a hypothesis based on the likelihood that other variable(s) could be driving this phenomenon. Next, students will test their hypothesis by running a correlational analysis of their initially selected data with the second variable. Finally, students will speculate about possible ways to determine if there is a causal relationship. They will also make a poster of their accomplished job!


“This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1919613. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.”

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