Data Presentation

LENGTH: 15 minutes
DUE DATE: Varies

The RUBRIC for Evaluation is posted here.

As we progress through the semester, we will be reading scholarly works about a range of policy problems.  The Data Presentation is designed to give the class an understanding of what the particular policy problem we are studying looks like in Highland Park and how Highland Park compares to other, more privileged or disadvantaged parts of the city.  Later in the semester, you may use these presentations to create your community profiles or write your policy analysis papers.


Prepare a presentation on your topic using the data available under the course website’s RESEARCH banner.  Your job in this presentation is to help the class understand (using what data is available) what the situation looks like in Highland Park and, if appropriate, the larger Northside or Richmond metropolitan region.

Your data presentation is a conveying of an argument: You are giving us your assessment of what Highland Park is and looks like based on the evidence you see.  Therefore, your presentation should have an introduction, and your evidence should support the arguments you are making about the community.  In preparing your presentation, you should use the sources on the RESEARCH page.  You can add more if you are away of a source through your own work, but outside research is not expected or required.

Because the RESEARCH page is a long one, I’ve also broken it off into single-topic subpages, which you can access through the menu that pops up when you hover over the RESEARCH banner.  A statement of each of the topics with suggested questions to guide your preparation of the data presentation follows:

  • Presentation on Employment and Family Data: What are the employment and job skills patterns among Highland Park residents?  Do they work?  If they do, what kinds of jobs do they tend to work?  How educated are they?  What’s their income and earnings like?  To what extent and in what ways do Highland Park residents depart from the norms that characterize a stereotypical middle-class community in terms of family formation?  Do men and women marry?  Are there a lot of kids in the neighborhood?  Is it an old or young neighborhood?  Are families poor, low-income, working or middle class, or rich? How do Highland Park residents compare to other parts of the metro area?  Would you say this is a place where families are weak and joblessness is rampant?  See the Work and Family data page.
  • Presentation on Crime, Incarceration, and Safety Data: Is Highland a dangerous neighborhood? What kinds of crime, if any, are committed here?  How do crime levels in Highland Park compare to other parts of the metro region?  Has crime gotten better or worse over the last five years?  What aspects of the neighborhood might contribute to perceptions of safety or lack thereof?  (Note that you may need to compare precincts rather traditional neighborhood boundaries or you might need to compare the City of Richmond to the suburbs if the data is not reported in a geographically refined manner).  See the Crime and Incarceration data page.
  • Presentation on Teacher Quality and School Accountability Data: How good are the teachers in the schools that Highland Park children attend?  How do they compare to teachers in other parts of the metro region?  Are the schools Highland Park children attend “failing schools” and how do they compare to nearby suburban schools?  Which of the elementary, middle, and high schools in the City of Richmond are in compliance with No Child Left Behind and state accreditation requirements?  How does the city compare to Henrico, Chesterfield, Goochland, and Hanover Counties?  Are the teachers better in suburban schools?  See the School and Academic Achievement data page.
  • Presentation on School Achievement and Behavior Data for Elementary, Middle, and High School Schoolchildren: How are elementary, middle, and high school children  in Highland Park doing academically?  Are there significant concerns about safety in the schools?  How do the schools compare in terms of academic achievement and safety to schools in the suburbs and to other schools in the City of Richmond?  Are these “failing”schools, and if there are academic problems, are these widespread or are they confined only to certain demographic groups, grades, or subjects?  See the School and Academic Achievement data page.
  • Presentation on Health Disparities Data Across the City, Region, and State:  What is the housing and environment like in Highland Park and, if appropriate, the surrounding Northside, City, and metro region?  How might these factors affect the health of Highland Park residents?  What are the major health problems that city residents face compared to suburban residents or residents in other parts of the Central Virginia region?  How does the Commonwealth of Virginia stack up compared to other states?  See the Public Health and the Urban Environment data page.


Your presentation should take approximately 15 minutes.  For perspective, one typed, double-spaced page of written text is equal to about five minutes of spoken words, assuming the speaker is speaking at a comfortable pace.

To make your points, please use visual aids such as maps or tables to present the data.  In your slides, please indicate the data source from where your evidence is taken, but you do not need to create formal citations unless you are borrowing a table or other visual aid already created in the work of another author.

I don’t have a minimum number of slides that I expect.  Use as many or as few as you need to make your points.  Make sure your argument is clear!

Due Dates and Use of Presentations Afterward

Varies by topic; please consult the Schedule of Course Assignments on the paper syllabus or the COURSE READINGS AND GUIDES page.

Please e-mail me your visual aids either right before or right after class on the day of your presentation, so that I can add it to the archive under COMMUNITY PROFILES.

The data presentations posted on that COMMUNITY PROFILES page are for your use.  You may use them in your research papers (just be sure to cite the appropriate one), and you may look at the ones prior students have created as a model for your own.


The primary purpose of this assignment is to assess your abilities to take data and make an inference from patterns that you see and then explain your conclusions to the class.  I am not expecting you to do any fancy quantitative analyses, and you don’t need to have taken research methods to complete this assignment.  You don’t even need to know how to use fancy mapping or graphing software.  In fact, many of the websites that I recommend for you under RESEARCH will create maps, tables, and graphs for you, or if the source is a government or non-profit report, the visual information is already created for you in a PDF report!  However, you do need to know how to interpret simple descriptive statistics from a table or graph.  If you have questions or concerns or if you need help, come see me.

Your presentation will be assessed on its clarity and informativeness, including whether you made sufficient use of the data available to you, explained the data in a clear and articulate manner, and used visually appealing and easy to understand visual material.

Some of these projects will be a group project, and for these, you will receive a group grade.  Please let me know if there are group members who did not contribute equally and substantively to the final product, compelling other members to shoulder an inordinate amount of the workload.

Header Image: The rooftops of Church Hill