Tom Coyne | October 6, 2019
University of Notre Dame political scientist Jeff Harden is part of a multidisciplinary research team awarded a $1 million National Science Foundation Convergence Accelerator (C-Accel) grant to create a hub that will make it easier to access and analyze data from states on public policy and economic and social outcomes.
Harden said making comparisons across states is often difficult because data is decentralized and each state uses different methods to collect and record such data.
“Anybody who tries to collect information from the states to answer some sort of question is probably going to have to reinvent the wheel over and over even though somebody has already collected all or some of the information they need,” said Harden, an associate professor who came to Notre Dame in 2016.
“People will often say that if you’re going to start a research project that is based on the states, you’re really undertaking 50 separate data collection efforts rather than one. It’s inefficient, obviously, and may lead people to not answer questions that are worth answering, or not do it at the same scope they otherwise could.”
Harden’s partners on the project include scholars of political science, public policy, sociology, geography, philosophy and computer science from Kansas State University, North Carolina A&T State University, the University of North Carolina Charlotte, the University of Rochester and the University of Virginia.
Together they will develop the Federalism Data and Advanced Statistics Hub, or F-DASH, a comprehensive data hub that will be accessible through a website that is free and open to the public. The hub will include analytic tools that will allow users to easily explore, visualize and analyze the data.
The project will also include data on legislatures, governors and state supreme courts, said Harden, who specializes in American politics and political methodology.
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