Intro to Spreadsheets

For the data from sheet 1, I compared median wages of all men and median wages of all women using a bar graph and a histogram. The story told based on both these charts is fairly straight forward, showing that men made higher wages than women. The data from sheet 2, I compared the median number of male workers in the food, alcohol, publishing, luxury, and clothing industries. I also compared the median wages of the men in those industries. The story told by those charts shows how many men were working in each industry and compared typical wages for each industry. Beyond the technical, the main issue I encountered was putting the data in a larger context and finding value in information that I have not previously researched. Because all we have is the information in the industry census, it is difficult to answer the question “why is this important?” which is usually what historians ask first. What is the point of comparing the median of male employees in certain industries and the median of their wages? We can find out what was typical for wages in Albany for male employees between the industries and as a whole between men and women in the 1860s, but with the absence of corresponding primary sources, analysis of the data cannot be taken much further than that. Generally, I think historians would try to determine if any of their data is out of the ordinary, but the stories told in my graphs do not present information that is surprising. Both the scatter plots and the bar graphs seem to be most helpful for comparison. The scatter plot is helpful in showing what overlaps and what does not. The bar graph and histogram show the same type of comparative relationship, but the way the data is displayed in separate columns makes the overlap less obvious.




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