Monday, January 19, 2015

Pew Research's "Global views on morality"

Pew Research went around the globe and asked folks in 40 different countries if a variety of different behaviors qualified as "Unacceptable", "Acceptable", or "Not a moral issue". See below for a broad summary of the findings.

Summary of international morality data from Pew

The data on this website is highly interactive...you can break down the data by a specific behavior, by country, and also look at different regions of the world. This data is a good demonstration of why graphs are useful and engaging when presenting data to an audience.

Here is a summary of the data from Pew. It nicely describes global trends (extramarital affairs are largely viewed as unacceptable, contraception is widely viewed as acceptable).

How you could use this in class.

1) Comparison of different countries and beliefs about what is right, what is wrong. Good for discussions about multiculturalism, social norms, normative behaviors, influence of religion on social norms, etc.
2) Comprehensive information on the survey methods used in the different countries (good for a research methods class and discussion of data collection according to the technology one has available).
3) Non-interactive PDF version of the data...you could have your students input this data and make their own graphs. I did this in class last week. First, they played around with the interactive data, then they created frequency tables and bar graphs of just the "unacceptable" gambling data medians using SPSS.
4) In a psychometrics class, you could discuss the virtues (pun!) of using a 3-item response scale (like Pew did) or if it would have been more appropriate to use a Likert-type scale to understand attitudes. Also, from an interpretation view point, this data is per country...does this accurately represent the number of humans in the world that hold these views?

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