Data Untangles the Complexity of Human Experience

Although data can seem unfeeling and unapproachable at times, it can actually help us develop better understandings and appreciation for individual personal experience and complex social issues. Although sometimes the media can lead us to believe that everyone within a single  group has the same life experiences and same opinion, data can help us break this a part and better understand how the intricacies of one’s life (i.e. gender, income, age, ethnicity, educational background, cultural background) can have a significant influence on their experiences.

In the article by Hayley Munguia published by FiveThirtyEight, the writer looks at Data from The National Transgender Discrimination Survey Report (2011) in light of Bruce Jenner’s recent interview with Diane Sawyer about his* struggles with his gender identity. They examine the impact that age, socioeconomic status has on individual experiences of Transition.Capture

This type of quantitative data (2011 Report) together with qualitative experiences (Bruce Jenner’s interview) are crucial in developing appreciation for the nuances of personal experience, and can also be particularly important for Human Service agencies and providers. Data such as these help us to identify the most vulnerable groups, and help us target supports and interventions where they are most needed.

*This writer is using male pronouns as Jenner indicated this as his preference for now.