Management Learning Laboratories
Title: Big Data Big Decisions: Citizen Data and Needs Assessment (0.3 CEU)
Brief Description:
This seminar addresses the rationale for collecting data from citizens and users on a regular basis. It then goes over the ways in which data collection can be done using the numerous tools from the traditional survey to the collection of data from digital networks that are used by everyone nowadays. The seminar will show the diverse ways to analyze the vast amount of data that can be collected and then elaborates on how to use the findings to make informed and customized decisions.
Learning Outcomes:
  1. Recognize the value of collecting data from the community served by a recreation provider
  2. Identify the key aspects of data collection: questionnaire design, sampling techniques and technologies of data collection
  3. List the various kinds of data including numeric, descriptive, and big data
  4. Outline the key analytical processes used to make sense of the different kind of data
  5. Describe the ways in which specific decisions can be obtained from the data analysis
  6. Summarize the steps in managing ongoing citizen data collection
Organization of the Seminar:
  1. The session will begin with the recognition of the centrality of conducting periodical and ongoing data collection from the community served by a recreation agency (15 minutes).
  2. We will then identify the key strategies of doing data collection addressing the diverse ways of doing community and focus group meetings, constructing questionnaires that yield reliable and valid data, techniques of selecting a sample for data collection and then identifying the appropriate tools for data collection (45 minutes).
  3. The next segment of the seminar will list the various kinds of data that is produced from the data collection process with special attention to data as numbers and data as the natural voices of people as collected from digital social networks, all culminating in what is often called big data (45 minutes).
  4. This vast amount of data needs to be analyzed and in the next section we will outline the key analytic processes that would include existing statistical tools, the narb based analysis as invented by scientists at MLL, and the combination of these processes (45 minutes)
  5. The analysis yields a narrative about recreation in a community and these narrative yields vital decisions and we will describe the strategies of obtaining decisions that can yield in action that eventually benefits the citizens (45 minutes).
  6. We close with summarizing the different steps of the needs assessment process and offer directions for managing this complex and vital process (45 minutes)
Number of Contact hours: 4
Instruction Methods:
The online synchronous seminar would be conducted using appropriate video conferencing systems, sharing of visual aid, and demonstration of the different tools that are used in data collection and analysis. The proceedings would be recorded for future licensed use by the participants. All the seminars would be capped at 11 participants.
Learner Assessment:
The assessment will be conducted during the session at the end of each module by a set of questions that the participants will respond to and during the sessions through specific activities (such as do a small computation or interpret data).
Instructor Name and Qualifications:
Ananda Mitra, PhD
163 Linbrook Drive
Winston-Salem, NC 27106
The session is conducted by Professor Ananda Mitra (PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
who is the lead author of Research Methods in Park, Recreation and Leisure Services (Sagamore
Publishing, 1999) and the author of Collecting Citizen Input (Sagamore Publishing, 2012, 2018). He is the
inventor of the concept of narbs that provides the basis for open-ended data analysis as presented at He has presented papers and sessions of data collection at nearly 60
conferences nationally and internationally. He been has involved with nearly 130 citizen data collection
studies. Professor Mitra has conducted nearly 700 recreation-related focus group meetings and
developed about 130 recreation study questionnaires and managed data collection from nearly 400,000
people over the 130 studies in as many communities with the most recent study being completed in
2021. Professor Mitra brings his vast experience to the session.
MLL Methods
RecStor Big Data Analysis
RecStor Big Data Analysis
MLL Research and Scholarship
Past Studies and References
About MLL
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