Week 1 - Telling a Data Story


Most data come to us as a set of rows (or cases) with values for a set of columns (or variables). But their composite is so much more than that. Each row provides us with a detailed description of a case, be it an object or event, and the variables provide an opportunity to compare across these cases. This enables us not only to translate the information contained in any given row into a data story but also a more general understanding of the knowledge contained in the data themselves.

In this module, you will use basic R functions to expose details of a data frame, particularly the content of individual cases, and use that information to describe the contents of a data set.

To complement our introduction to R, we will explore the fundamental themes of urban informatics by discussing an initial set of readings on 311 systems and New York City’s Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics.

Learning objectives

Substantive Readings

Technical Readings

Data Assignment

For this week’s data assignment, briefly describe the structure of either your whole data set or of some meaningful subset (number of rows, columns, names of relevant variables).

Describe at least three cases (rows) from this set/subset using the information contained in the variables you see as relevant.