University Library News
Georgia State University

GSU Library’s Research Data Services, Community Partners, and Students using DATA to Tackle Food Insecurity

Georgia State University (GSU) University Library’s Research Data Services (RDS) Department had the unique opportunity to develop and teach the grant-funded Public Interest Data Literacy (PIDLit) Learning Lab, “Tackling Food Insecurity” course in the Fall 2023 and Spring 2024 semesters. The PIDLit Lab course was an experiential-learning course that connected students with partner organizations (Panther’s Pantry, Wholesome Wave Georgia, MARTA Markets, ATLytiCS) to apply data skills to address the real-world problem of food insecurity. The course challenged the students to apply social theories and methods to our community partners’ data needs to assist them in implementing data-driven solutions for tackling food insecurity in the metro-Atlanta area and other sites in Georgia.

The PIDLit Research Projects: To provide hands-on data collection and analysis experiences for the PIDLit Lab students, PIDLit Directors Halley Riley, Ashley Rockwell, and Mandy Swygart-Hobaugh administered three research studies:

  1. Survey of GSU students (424 total participants) examining food insecurity experiences.
  2. Survey of MARTA public transportation users (115 total participants) examining food insecurity experiences.
  3. Qualitative analysis of two focus groups conducted by Wholesome Wave Georgia to evaluate their Food for Health program, via which qualifying participants redeem fresh-produce food prescriptions at farmers markets and take part in cooking and wellness education classes.

Several members of the PIDLit Team presented about the class and its associated research projects at the Southern Sociological Society conference in New Orleans April 3-6, 2024:

Armina and Kokou did a fantastic job — attendees were very engaged and impressed! And checkout Kokou’s glowing LinkedIn post about the experience! #studentsuccess #theStateWay

What do the PIDLit lab students have to say? Course students extoll the skills and knowledge they’ve gained from the class — particularly in terms of discovering potential career paths and readying them for career success — read for yourself!