MARCH 2018 | The world of public policy is still largely ruled by data. Want your opinions to be heard and taken seriously? Then you better have the statistics to back them up.
But there are signs this is changing as public faith in data wanes. It seems like almost every day there is a “new” study discounting yesterday’s. And with such an influx of both credible and pseudo-scientific research, who’s surprised? One can cherrypick the data they want to support whatever opinion. Too much data, and the wrong sorts, seems to leave us back where we started before all the surveys and statistics: in the world of mere opinion.
Now while there are some social scientists conceding that it’s time to dethrone statistics once and for all, I would like to propose we still give three cheers for data collection. Because when the right questions are asked to a significant sample size of respondents, statistics are a credible way to measure outcomes, poll attitudes, challenge assumptions (or validate them), and help us to better understand the cultural climate in which all our research needs to have an impact.
Can statistics do everything? Of course not. But in 2018, our hope with Cardus Education is that we can lean on good, quantitative research to accomplish the following:
- Extend our Cardus Education Survey to higher education, demonstrating the graduate outcomes across Christian universities and colleges in the United States.
- Expand a private-school assessment study to tailor-fit our Cardus Education Survey for individual schools so they better know how to assess their student formation.
- Get more granular with our Canadian CES data by looking closely at the provincial level. National-level discussion is important, but provincially based studies will sharpen the policy focus.
We will continue to enrich our reports with case studies and qualitative data, so in 2018 the Cardus Education story is going to be: “Three cheers for data collection.”
To keep up with all our work in 2018, visit us at cardus.ca/research/education.