For whom is data literacy empowering? An awareness-action typology
Keywords:data literacy, qualitative research, social justice, empowerment, lifelong learning
Building on recent empowerment perspectives on data literacy, we examine how students and working adults talk about their understanding of data and report on their own personal-data-related practices. Through a deductive and inductive analysis of interviews with 19 subjects ranging from middle school to middle age, we find that awareness and action with respect to data consumption and production do not necessarily increase in tandem. For example, being more aware of the data that can be used to track them does not make individuals more likely to take action to manage their personal data. While some feel anxiety about the gap between knowledge and action, others resolve the tension by choosing not to care. These findings are synthesized in a typology of personas in the space of data awareness and action. We investigate the relationship between age and educational attainment with location in this awareness-action space and discuss implications for data literacy education.