DTC 101 Module Project #1

In Chapter 9 of Born A Crime, Noah describes the way that apartheid systematically, and arbitrarily, divided groups, fostering discord and heading off unity. He writes, “That’s what apartheid did: It convinced every group that it was because of the other race that they didn’t get into the club” (120).

In our readings this unit, we have learned how data can be used to reinforce racial stereotypes, divisions, and marginalization. In particular, we have focused on the ways that racial biases are built into, and thereby strengthened by, algorithms.

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For this project, you will spend time exploring Google to learn more about how the platform works, and how its algorithm influences group representation. To do this, you will select a social group that you belong to to focus your research. You will then track what happens when you engage with a platform on this topic, and create a visualization to communicate your findings.

Follow this process to collect and present your data:


  1. Select your topic.
  2. Create a spreadsheet to track your data. In your spreadsheet, you must be able to record:
  • Search input (what you typed in)
  • Search output (what you got back)
  • Output type (the form of the output, e.g. a suggested search, a recommended video, etc.)
  • Date
  • Create a pool of at least 5 search terms related to your topic. This pool should include slight variations on the same idea (e.g. “women;” “why do women…” ).
  • Navigate to the Google homepage to begin your data collection. Input your search terms, and record the outputs you observe on your spreadsheet.
  • You must record suggested searches (the drop down when you type in your search from the homepage), any advertisements, and at least five top results.
  • Navigate to Google images and repeat the above process.
  • For more data, you may consider repeating the process again on YouTube (another Google property).
  • If you choose to look into YouTube, remember to look for recommended videos and top comments.
  • Once you have collected your data, use that information to create an infographic & reflection.

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