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How data-smart is Germany? LIfBi launches nationwide surveys on data literacy in October

Data and digital information are part of everyday life. With the "Data Literacy" project, the Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories (LIfBi) in Bamberg wants to find out how easy or difficult it is for people to deal with data and information and how the associated skills develop in the long term. This study will be the first to conduct representative surveys of the digital and data-related skills of the German population. For this purpose, around 11,000 people between the ages of 10 and 69 throughout Germany will be surveyed from mid-October 2023. These were randomly selected from the population registers and represent a representative average of the German population.

In educational research, "data literacy" refers to the ability to use digital data and data-related information in a targeted manner and to deal with them confidently. Digital and data-related competencies are, among other things, a central prerequisite for civic engagement and the responsible handling of one's own and other people's data. The "Data Literacy" project at LIfBi is the first representative project across Germany that systematically records this ability in the form of snapshots on the one hand and also accompanies the development of the associated competencies in the long term on the other.

Everyday tasks for the participants  
During the survey period, which has now started, participants will be visited at home for personal interviews and asked to complete everyday tasks on a laptop. In addition to tasks on digital and data-related skills, the survey also includes questions on self-assessment, use of data at work and in leisure time, and interest in digital and data-related content. The questionnaire and tasks were developed by researchers at LIfBi and tested for practical use in a regional development study in northern Bavaria, among other places, with around 240 participants. The surveys will run until spring of next year.

LIfBi, which is also responsible for conducting the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS) - the largest long-term educational study in Germany - is well equipped for the ambitious large-scale "Data Literacy" project. "We draw on our many years of experience with large-scale studies that have been conducted nationwide and over many years in terms of the content and practical design of the test procedures, the implementation of the surveys, data protection and, finally, the preparation of the data for scientific use," explains Prof. Dr. Cordula Artelt, Director of LIfBi.

Snapshot and long-term view combined
„Data Literacy“ is unique not only because the project is the first to survey the digital and data-related skills of the German population in a representative way for Germany, but also because the project combines cross-sectional and longitudinal research approaches. On the one hand, a representative random sample of people between the ages of 10 and 69 is repeatedly surveyed. In this way, statements can be made about people's competencies in the sense of a snapshot. On the other hand, children aged 11 to 12 are also specifically targeted and surveyed using a longitudinal approach at two-year intervals. This makes it possible to draw conclusions about the development of digital and data-related skills among children and young people in Germany and to understand their individual prerequisites. In the course of the survey period that has now started, both groups of participants will be visited.

Funded by the federal government and the EU
The large-scale project is supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the German government's data strategy and the Digital Education Initiative, and funded by the EU as part of NextGenerationEU. Promoting data literacy among the population is a central component of the data strategy. The "Data Literacy" research project will show how these skills are developed in the population and can thus help, among other things, to tailor future learning opportunities specifically to the needs of the population.

Further information

To the project page Data Literacy

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