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Statistics for Empowerment and Social Engagement

Teaching Civic Statistics to Develop Informed Citizens


  • Presents a conceptual framework to describe the knowledge needed to comprehend and critically evaluate societal issues

  • Provides extensive teaching resources based on dynamic visualisation tools and open-source software packages

  • Offers tools for exploring the alignment of curriculum intentions, classroom teaching practices, and assessment methods

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Table of contents (23 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xxiii
  2. Why Engage with Civic Statistics?

    • Jim Ridgway
    Pages 1-13
  3. Edited by Joachim Engel and James Nicholson

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 15-15
    2. A Conceptual Framework for Civic Statistics and Its Educational Applications

      • Iddo Gal, James Nicholson, Jim Ridgway
      Pages 37-66Open Access
    3. Implementing Civic Statistics: An Agenda for Action

      • Iddo Gal, Jim Ridgway, James Nicholson, Joachim Engel
      Pages 67-96Open Access
  4. Edited by Rolf Biehler and Peter Kovacs

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 97-97
    2. Interactive Data Visualizations for Teaching Civic Statistics

      • Jim Ridgway, Pedro Campos, James Nicholson, Sónia Teixeira
      Pages 99-126
    3. Data Sets: Examples and Access for Civic Statistics

      • Sónia Teixeira, Pedro Campos, Anna Trostianitser
      Pages 127-151
    4. Lesson Plan Approaches: Tasks That Motivate Students to Think

      • Anna Trostianitser, Sónia Teixeira, Pedro Campos
      Pages 153-177
    5. Seeing Dynamic Data Visualizations in Action: Gapminder Tools

      • Peter Kovacs, Klara Kazar, Eva Kuruczleki
      Pages 179-198Open Access
    6. Data Visualization Packages for Non-inferential Civic Statistics in High School Classrooms

      • Daniel Frischemeier, Susanne Podworny, Rolf Biehler
      Pages 199-236
    7. Exploring Climate Change Data with R

      • Nuno Guimarães, Kimmo Vehkalahti, Pedro Campos, Joachim Engel
      Pages 267-296
  5. Edited by Iddo Gal and Daniel Frischemeier

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 321-321
    2. Implementing Civic Statistics in Business Education: Technology in Small and Large Classrooms

      • Peter Kovacs, Klara Kazar, Eva Kuruczleki
      Pages 345-368Open Access
    3. Implementing Civic Statistics in Mathematics Teacher Education

      • Achim Schiller, Joachim Engel
      Pages 395-416

About this book

“This book is a remarkable achievement” Gerd Gigerenzer

This book offers practical approaches to working in a new field of knowledge - Civic Statistics - which sets out to engage with, and overcome well documented and long-standing problems in teaching quantitative skills. The book includes 23 peer-reviewed chapters, written in coordination by an international group of experts from ten countries. The book aims to support and enhance the work of teachers and lecturers working both at the high school and tertiary (university) levels. It is designed to promote and improve the critical understanding of quantitative evidence relevant to burning social issues – such as epidemics, climate change, poverty, migration, natural disasters, inequality, employment, and racism.

Effective citizen engagement with social issues requires active participation and a broad understanding of data and statistics about societal issues. However, many statistics curricula are not designed to teach relevant skills nor to improve learners' statistical literacy. 

Evidence about social issues is provided to the public via print and digital media, official statistics offices, and other information channels, and a great deal of data is accessible both as aggregated summaries and as individual records. Chapters illustrate the approaches needed to teach and promote the knowledge, skills, dispositions, and enabling processes associated with critical understanding of Civic Statistics presented in many forms. These include: statistical analysis of authentic multivariate data; use of dynamic data visualisations; deconstructing texts about the social and economic well-being of societies and communities. Chapters discuss: the development of curricula and educational resources; use of emerging technologies and visualizations; preparation of teachers and teaching approaches; sources for relevant datasets and rich texts about Civic Statistics; ideas regarding future research, assessment, collaborations between different stakeholders; and other systemic issues.


  • Civic statistics
  • Data science
  • official statistics
  • curriculum reform
  • data visualisation
  • evidence-based policy

Editors and Affiliations

  • School of Education, University of Durham, Durham, UK

    Jim Ridgway

About the editor

Jim Ridgway is an applied psychologist, currently Emeritus Professor in the School of Education at Durham University. He holds a Master’s degree in mathematical psychology, and his Ph.D. was based on work selecting fast jet pilots for the RAF. Past roles include vice-president of the International Association for Statistics Education, and co-ordinator of the Assessment SIG for the European Association for Research in Education.

Jim directed the SMART Centre at Durham, and created novel interfaces designed to engage statistically naïve users with multivariate data. A notable collaboration was with the House of Commons Library on a project to provide detailed data about every parliamentary constituency ahead of national elections via mobile and desktop devices (along with an interactive quiz!). Current work is on Civic Statistics – a collaboration with partners in several countries designed to make school and undergraduate statistics courses directly relevant to citizens’ needs, by using large scale authentic data sets on pressing social issues, such as migration, equality, and disease spread. Teaching materials are available via the International Statistical Literacy Project. A recent co-edited book is entitled Teaching Data Science and Statistics.

An on-going research project is a collaboration with computer scientists, focussed on using AI to address pressing epistemological problems in contemporary science and social science; a second project is a collaboration with physicists and logistics experts addressing the challenges posed to the UN Sustainable Development Goals by unregulated space exploitation..

His earlier work had three major strands. The first focussed on using computers across the curriculum, in schools. The second addressed mathematics education, in particular on teaching problem solving and mathematical thinking and (with colleagues at Nottingham University) designing and implementing large scale assessment systems in the USA. A project entitled World Class Tests developed innovative ICT-based assessments in science, technology and mathematics that have been used in over 20 countries. A third strand has been to promote the engagement of women in STEM, via several pan-European ERASMUS-funded projects.


Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Statistics for Empowerment and Social Engagement

  • Book Subtitle: Teaching Civic Statistics to Develop Informed Citizens

  • Editors: Jim Ridgway

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Springer Cham

  • eBook Packages: Mathematics and Statistics, Mathematics and Statistics (R0)

  • Copyright Information: Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2022

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-031-20747-1Published: 11 March 2023

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-031-20750-1Due: 25 March 2024

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-031-20748-8Published: 10 March 2023

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XXIII, 614

  • Number of Illustrations: 14 b/w illustrations, 165 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: Statistics for Social Sciences, Humanities, Law, Teaching and Teacher Education

Buy it now

Buying options

eBook USD 89.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Hardcover Book USD 119.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Other ways to access