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# Concluding thoughts

# Human bias in data

  • Humans are present at every stage of the data and mapping process: humans observe the world and structure the observations into data; humans interpret this data and visualize it into maps.

An illustration showing humans in the data and mapping process

An illustration showing the human role in the data and mapping process, Tess McCann (2021).

  • Because there are humans at every step of the way, human biases can seep into data and into maps (recall the two Wi-Fi accessibility maps from Session 1!)
  • Humans bias and distortion actually begins much earlier than that—with the collection and structuring of data.

    • What gets lost in translation between spreadsheet and map?
    • Some helpful vocabulary for identifying this distortion:
      • Response bias
      • Sample size
      • Survey design (e.g. leading questions)
      • Missing data
        • i.e. the information that we fail to record (more to come in Session 3!)
  • Any mode of data collection is imperfect; it is an attempt to record phenomena in our world. Being aware of these imperfections is the key!

Last Updated: 4/25/2022, 10:23:35 AM