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Data Science

This Guide is in support of the research and teaching needs of the School of Data Science at UVA

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Sources of Evidence and Their Uses

This table about evidence and their uses (found in Andrew Pennock's The CQ Press Writing Guide for Public Policy, 2019, p. 27, Table 2.1) will help most data scientists understand where to find background information related to their project.  Thinking about documents in this framework will be most helpful when you are working with a client on your capstone.

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Sources of Evidence and Their Uses (quoted from Pennock 2019)
  Academia Government Interest Groups Popular Media

* Helpful for understanding the broad outlines of a problem but unlikely to address your problem directly.

* Can provide helpful evidence about the effectives of proposed alternatives.

* Seek out peer-reviewed... journals.

* Often provide good interviews and histories of a problem.

* May have produced reports on specific problems analogous to yours.

* Agencies produce documents reflecting their viewpoints, so look for differences.

* Can tip you to important data sources.

* Can quickly help you understand industry or sector viewpoints.

* Provide information in testimony, issue briefs, or regulatory comments, op-eds, and other documents.

* Articles can give the broad outlines of an issue and understand what educated readers likely know about the problem.

* Articles can give the broad outlines of an issue and understand what educated readers likely know about a problem.


* Can be a good sources of systematic knowledge and broad perspective on a problem.

* Seek academics working in [related fields].

* Gatekeepers of government information you need.

* Can be great background on an issues if you have a relationship.  If not, come prepared with questions to make good use of their time.

* Consult for specific statistics, as they can have data and information not found elsewhere.

* Can provide perspectives on a political conflict.

* Helpful for understanding technical aspects[...]

* Helpful for background information.

* Good source of contacts to interview in other domains.

* May tip you off to political landmines about which you don't know.