Have you ever shared an article or meme on social media that you believed to be true, but later realised it was “fake news”? In this time of information overload, it’s an easy mistake to make, and it has happened to most of us.
ADAPT’s ‘Debunked’ workshop series explores, in a fun and engaging way, how we assess the information that we encounter in everyday life.
The workshops also give people the basic skills to recognise misinformation when they see it and uncover instances of fake news. These skills form part of a larger skills set that we call data literacy skills.
Data literacy is broadly defined as the ability to read, work with, analyse, and argue with data .
Data literacy enables us to correctly interpret information and recognise misleading information when we see it. These skills are crucial in today’s ever more data- and visual-driven worlds.
To help Irish adults develop these skills, ADAPT partnered with Trinity College Dublin and community representatives to create and deliver a series of public data literacy workshops. The workshops ran throughout 2021 and 2022.
The project also leveraged collaboration with the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA) and WebWise.
The Debunked team worked with community partners to co-design interactive workshop activities to enable Irish adults develop data literacy skills.
The workshops used narrative and imagery discussing the representation of Irish history on social media, in particular, the misrepresentation of the Irish slave trade in the 17th century.
The social history element of the workshop was combined with activities and discussion relating to misleading or inaccurate presentation of numerical data on graphs and charts in advertising, media and public health.
These workshops incorporated discussion, dialogue and deliberation around data literacy skills. They also offered tools to embolden people to navigate mis-/mal-/dis-information online through improved data literacy.
More than 140 members of the Irish public improved their data literacy skills via eleven Debunked workshops. These workshops were delivered in online, in-person and hybrid modes.
External evaluation of the project revealed positive outcomes, including:
“ Wonderfully delivered, participant engagement was at the forefront and I felt very confident in adding my “two cents”.
“It [Debunked] was definitely one of the most interactive workshops that I’ve been in…it was an inventive use of graphs, and encouraging or sparking conversation as well… I thought it was really really [sic] well done.”
Evaluation of Debunked was conducted by the Science & Society Research Group at the School of Education, Trinity College Dublin.
Download the full Debunked Evaluation Report (pdf)
The Debunked team commissioned a white paper that leveraged insights derived from the project. This white paper aims to help communities, educators and policymakers implement programmes that can help tackle data literacy in Ireland:
Download A Data Literate Ireland: White Paper on the Case for a Whole-of- Government Approach to Data Literacy Skills Development in Ireland (pdf)
The Debunked pilot workshop series was funded by the SFI Discover programme. The project evaluation provided evidence of the effectiveness of the Debunked workshops for enhancing the data literacy skills of adults in Ireland.
The project team is now exploring funding opportunities to offer these workshops at scale across Ireland and beyond.
Please contact us if you are interested in collaborating on or supporting Debunked.
 Approaches to building big data literacy. In Proceedings of the Bloomberg data for good exchange conference ((D’Ignazio, C., & Bhargava, R., p. 6, 2015, September