Due Date: March 10 at 11:59 PM
On the eclass website, you will find an excel spreadsheet with the data from the Hamilton jail registers. These data provide information about individuals the Hamilton police jailed between 1894 and 1909.
Your assignment is to write an essay and make some reasonable conclusions about what the data tells us. In answering this question, you must organize the data into tables, charts, and/or any other format you find useful. However, you must also write an essay, in which you use the data to make your conclusions.
In order to do this, you will have to sort and organize the data. There are various ways of doing this using excel. You can use the ‘sort’ button or you can use pivot tables. Pivot tables are accessed under the ‘Data’ button, i.e. ‘summarize pivot tables’ which you will then create a separate sheet. From there, you can drag the variables into the appropriate box. If you have not used pivot tables before, this may take some experimentation. Whenever you have trouble, use the help button or google it. There are various tutorials you can use, including on York’s computer website. This website will help you.
As well, there will be virtual tutorials where the essay and the methods you might use to organize your data will be demonstrated. These tutorials will be held on Friday, February 12 at 11:30.
After you have sorted your data, you can then transform it into tables, charts, and various other visual forms. Please note: do not simply attach to your essay the pivot tables. You must convert the pivot tables into charts, graphs, or tables. As well, make sure that if you use charts that your charts do not include information impossible to read. To avoid this, tables are more effective.
As well, if using pie charts or other similar graphics, you must include the raw numbers. Again, this is something easily done via excel. In your essay, you might also include the percentages. For instance you might include the percentage of men whose principal residence is Hamilton. If you do so, be also to include the raw numbers.
What might you examine?
Well, even before you begin your analysis you should determine the number of repeat offenders. If you don’t do so, then your data is skewered. So, first step is to determine the number of repeat offenders. How would you do this? Is there a reason why you might include your repeat offenders in your calculations? Maybe but if so you will need to explain why you are doing so. Regardless, your analysis must include the number of repeat offenders. You need not include their names. As well, you might signal out someone who is in jail the most often.
After you determined the number of repeat offenders, then you can
Age of the offender. Create a table or age pyramid showing the ages of those offending. What does this tell us? How do you create an age pyramid from excel? Google it. There are various youtube demonstrations.
In making this pyramid, you should divide your ages into cohorts. You must use the following age cohorts. There are a few children under the age of 10. Ignore them in your calculations though you should mention them in your essay.
60 and older
Sex of the offender? Why are so few women represented do you think? What does this show?
What are the occupations of the offenders?
Residence of the offenders?
Heritage: are there any indicators as to their heritage? In this case, you need to mention those people who are identified as ‘Indian.’ These people are from the Grand River Six Nations reserve which in this period, was the largest reserve in Canada.
What percentage of the offenders have been arrested before? What is the median and average number of times?
What percentage of the offenders serve time in jail? What is the average sentence? How many pay their fine?
Finally, you must provide calculations of the offending rate per 1,000 of population. How to do this and why this is important is explained on an accompanying sheet on the eclass website.
These are only some of the questions you might pose of the material. There are multiple ways to do this assignment. An essay that does the most basic information and in a competent way may do fine but will not receive an A or A+. As I have already stated in the life class, you are only limited by the questions you don’t ask. Make reasonable conclusions based on what you can know. You can also make conclusions based on what you do not know, though be careful in doing so. The important point is to be logical. Follow the data.
Your analysis should be between 1300 and 2000 words and should include, where relevant, charts, tables, etc. These can be placed at the end of your essay or interspersed with the text. Either works.
In writing your essay, you need not have a thesis statement. At most, you should say that the registers reveal significant information about the offenders and that your paper will examine some of those aspects.
However, your conclusion should be more fulsome and explain what your analysis has shown. What might we conclude from the registers? In making these conclusions, remember to be critical of the data as it only tells us so much about the individuals arrested. For instance, one might think that some of the information may not be totally accurate, such as age, occupation and residence. Though we may not expect the ages given to be exact, neither would we expect that the error was significantly different than the person’s actual age.