Final Project

For your final assignment, you get to bring together all the different elements of the course to produce an essay using data and visualizations to discuss some aspect of religious practice in the US between 1980 and the present. You will need to use our course data set (though you do not have to limit to the state of Alabama) and at least one supplemental data source of your choice.

Your project should consist of two parts: an interpretive essay and a process statement.

Your essay should tell a story about religion in the United States, using at least five data visualizations, and at least one additional element, such as a map, a storymap, a timeline, or some textual analysis. (If you have taken another DH course and want to add a different kind of additional element, check with me.) Add the different elements by embedding them into a “Page” in your WordPress blog, interweaving them into your essay. Be sure to attend to your labels and captions. Additionally, support your interpretation of the data with quotations at least two scholarly sources (articles or books). Aim for around 1200 words in your essay.

Your process statement should identify and describe the data you used for your essay, your approach to the data and their analysis, and your presentation and interface choices. Include both technical details and your theoretical rationale, and speak to the questions for assessing data from Lab 6. Be sure to identify and credit your sources and tools. Use at least two course readings to frame and support your approach to the data and analysis. Aim for around 800 words in your process statement.

The whole project should be posted to your blog as a collection of “Pages” – a “landing page” for the project with a brief description, at least one page for the essay, and one page for the process statement, with links to the two sub-pages on the landing page. The narrative and process statement should be nested under the landing page. You are welcome to be as creative and ambitious as you like.


Total: 20 points (20% of your grade)

Written Essay (5)

Essay tells a coherent story with a clear argument. The content is substantive, thoughtful, and well-argued. Argument is supported by relevant scholarly literature.

Data Visualizations (5)

Data are appropriate to the topic of the essay. Visualizations are appropriate to the data and support the argument of the essay. Visualizations are clear and coherent.

Additional Element (3)

Additional element contributes to the overall argument of the essay, is well-designed, clear, and coherent.

Process Statement (5)

Process statement discusses rationale behind the data, methods of analysis, and presentation of the project, as well as the relevant technical details. Statement is supported by at least two of the course readings. Sources and tools are identified. Strengths and limitations of the data and the modes of analysis are addressed.

Structure and Presentation (2)

The collection of web pages are coherently structured. Content has been edited for style and grammar. Final project is made available on the student’s blog.