As we know, studying arts or humanities is not just about reading lots of books and listening to lots of music. It is also using what you learn to understand how things work in society, how people interact with each other, and why certain ideologies seem appealing or frustrating.
Data analysis can help you do that by looking at large amounts of information to see patterns and relationships. For example, you may be given data on whether eating meat every day is linked to healthier weight loss or if watching more than two hours of television per night is related to higher rates of obesity. You would need to come up with your own conclusions, but data can sometimes tell you something even science cannot!
There are many ways data analytics can apply to the liberal arts. Here are some examples:
Reading literary texts can give you insights into humanity’s desire for stories, mythologies, and inspiration. The same goes for art. Looking at how artists use metaphor, symbolism, and analogy in their work can teach you about how to communicate ideas convincingly.
Studies have shown that when someone tells a story they remember it better and feel more connected to the topic. This applies particularly well to educational topics like biology, physics, or psychology where understanding the concepts makes you more informed.
Music is a powerful tool for communication. There are studies which show that listening to songs with lyrics can improve your literacy skills because of the way words affect you.
Political scientists use data to determine what affects how people vote
There are many ways that political science uses empirical analysis to inform our understanding of why individuals choose to identify with one party over another.
One such area is voter behavior, or studying how voters respond to various issues and candidates. More than just looking at who votes for whom, electoral studies also look into why someone does not vote at all, or whether there are certain types of voters (for example, those who usually vote in one direction but don’t this election).
These insights can help us understand why some elections go your way and others do not, and even uncover unexpected trends like the fact that most presidential electors today are Republicans.
Another branch of electoral studies looks beyond voting decisions to see if there are any patterns between individual politicians or parties. For instance, are elected officials more likely to be members of their own party after they win? If so, what is the reason for that effect?
There could be anything from an internal cause — like being promoted within the organization – to an external cause — like getting funding or praise for the party program. We would have to test these theories empirically to know for sure!
Data sets containing information about past politicians and elections make it possible to explore these questions using statistical tools.
Sociologists look at how data can help us identify the different types of societies
One area that has seen a rise in popularity is sociological analysis. This field focuses on understanding why some groups of people are more likely to form strong bonds with other group members, and why certain structures and systems work better than others.
Sociology was once considered a pure academic discipline focused only on studying large populations, but now there are many ways that social scientists use quantitative (or numerical) methods to analyze individual-level datasets.
These approaches have become increasingly popular as researchers adopt complex mathematical tools designed to measure relationships between variables. More recently, computer algorithms have been adapted for social science research so that automated statistical techniques can be used to process vast amounts of data.
While these newer applications often require advanced mathematics, simple math such as regression or correlation can still play an important role in sociology. Correlation studies, for example, assess whether two things go up together or down together. When they do, it suggests that having one thing makes you likely to have the other.
Another type of study that has enjoyed renewed interest in recent years is qualitative research. Rather than looking at what factors influence something directly, qualitative researchers ask questions about participants’ perceptions, experiences, beliefs, and attitudes towards topics like racial equality or workplace diversity.
By listening to what people say rather than testing hypotheses, this approach allows for greater richness and depth of information.
Economists use data to determine what affects interest rates
As mentioned earlier, economists study how money is spent and where it comes from to make decisions about whether or not to lend money to companies and individuals. They also gather statistics about past trends in spending and lending to come up with equations to determine current best practices for lowering borrowing costs and creating more affordable opportunities for people.
Economics has many different specialties that draw upon various skills like mathematics, accounting, finance, and statistical analysis. Some areas of economics are considered quantitative, while others are qualitative.
The field of liberal arts focuses mostly on studying things like literature, history, and art. These subjects use storytelling, context, and influence to convey knowledge and ideas.
But there’s one area where the two meet beautifully: data analysis. A few years ago, this would have been very difficult. Now even creative writers and artist hire analysts to help tell their stories through research and numbers.
Here’s an example of how analytics can enrich the literary genre: why “A Beautiful Story” is never as good as you remember it being when you were younger.
Biology students use data to identify what affects the environment
In biology, there are many different fields that students can choose to study depending on their major. Some of these areas include environmental science, ecology, botany, or even zoology!
In environmental science courses, students is often analyzed how humans affect the natural world. These courses look at things such as why some animals become extinct and how human activity has an effect on the air, water, and soil.
Other courses focus more specifically on studying one particular element in the environment- like plants or oceanography. Students who choose to pursue a degree in botany may be tasked with identifying plant species both visually and through scientific means.
With regards to zoology, students learn about animal anatomy and physiology which help them understand how certain animals function. This also helps determine if they are conscious beings or not! [source]
These knowledge bases are richly endowed by statistical analysis. Statistics play a large part in biological studies, so having a solid base set up will make for better understanding of concepts.
Psychology students use data to determine how to help patients
Recent developments in psychology are focused on understanding why people do what they do. This is known as motivational or psychodynamic theory.
Under this framework, psychologists look at factors such as fear of loss, desire for power, and hope for the future among others to identify the things that motivate individuals.
These theories have been used to explain everything from why someone may drink alcohol to why someone may commit suicide.
With all life being motivated by human desires, it makes sense then that we would find our motivations in other areas. For example, if you’re hungry, you’ll want to eat. If you’ve lost touch with family members, you’ll want to make new ones.
Psychologists take these insights into motivation and apply them towards helping people be happier, healthier, and achieve their goals.
Scientists use data to identify how to improve their experiments
Historically, some of the major academic disciplines have been self-identified by what they study. For example, humans studies focus on understanding human behavior, sociology looks at why individuals and groups behave around one another, and political science investigates how power is distributed in society.
However, there are many areas within these broader fields that could be improved through the application of statistical analysis or quantitative research.
For instance, social psychology has an emphasis on explaining individual differences in behaviors, but it often fails to include the role that culture plays in shaping those differences.
Culture is a defining characteristic of any given group, and researchers should account for this when studying anything from personality traits to attitudes towards politics.
Another area that can benefit from quantitative tools is educational psychology, which focuses on learning processes but ignores the importance of motivation until recently.
Since motivation is such a fundamental part of who we are as people, ignoring it may underestimate the effects that education has on someone’s life.
Students use data to identify their passions
Many students get into college with no clear idea of what they want to study. They are focused more on getting an easy degree than finding true passion for the field.
Data analysis is an excellent way to help students discover their passion. By looking at large amounts of quantitative (number oriented) information, you can find patterns that motivate or distract people from different areas.
Students may be able to make changes to their current career path due to this insight. For example, some may realize that they were never really interested in marketing but enjoyed numbers so they could go into accounting or finance!
Another area where student data helps is developing new courses or majors. Looking at trends in academic success and growth in opportunities can influence which departments get funded or creating new ones.
Trends in data can help identify future trends
Looking at past patterns is one way to predict what’s coming next, and there are many ways you can use this information. For example, studying how people have behaved in the past can give you insights into how they will behave in the future.
This theory goes by the term ‘pattern matching.’ You see how things have gone before and then make predictions about what will happen next based on that pattern.
For instance, if most people who walked down the street after school were eating snacks while thinking about their day, then probably don’t want to walk up that street for your lunch break.
Data analysis can also look forward not just at current trends but at predictive markers of long-term changes. By identifying factors linked to significant change, we get some clues as to why those changes took place.
We’ve discussed a few examples of this here: reading articles about changing habits and behaviors, exploring why people lose motivation, and discussing why it’s important to stick to healthy routines. All of these apply to keeping yourself motivated to read, learn, and set aside time to study.
Another good area to explore using data analysis is finding the reasons why different academic courses are popular or unpopular.