Giulia Maria Dotti Sani

Assistant Professor (Letter A), Dept. of Social and Political Sciences, UniMi (IT)

Walk us through your resume: how did you get into the topic of your course?
Back in 2008 I was working my way through my masters’ degree in Social Sciences when I discovered data analysis. Already ten years ago, the huge availability of data and increasing computational power meant that the wealth of knowledge that was quite literally at my fingertips was simply amazing. I started out by researching the patterns of home leaving among Italian youth (remember the “bamboccioni”?). In the following years, I’ve studied many other topics: women’s employment, housework and childcare time, political socialization and trust, inequalities in housing, attitudes towards same-sex relationships… because that’s the best part: once you’ve learned how to correctly handle and analyse quantitative data, you can research whatever topic you like!

What will students learn by attending your classes?
Students will acquire a solid foundation in applied statistical methodology. They will master the basic toolkit of quantitative research (i.e. what are cases and variables, handling datasets, testing hypotheses); they will achieve an understanding of why sampling is used and how to make predictions (inference) in the social sciences; they will be proficient with the main tools for univariate and bivariate analyses. Students will also receive training for the use of the statistical software Stata and they will be able to produce basic statistical analyses of quantitative data independently.

How would your students describe you?
Students in previous years have described me as a prepared, nice and approachable teacher.

Please, tell us something about yourself that’s not on your resume.
Compared to doing other types of research, like ethnographies or in-depth interviews, data analysis implies spending a lot of time sitting at a desk, looking at lots of tiny numbers on a screen. It’s very rewarding, but it can also drive you nuts. So, to preserve some mental and physical sanity, nearly every day after my first and second shift are over, I sneak out of the house and go swimming, running, climbing, or to the box: whatever it takes to be on my feet and re-fill my energy for the next day.