Data Privacy Lab  

Harvard University

Data Science to Save the World

Gov 2430

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Lab 3. Enforcing Consumer Laws Online


In this lab, you will design experiments that help identify possible violations of consumer protections in online activities.

Suggested Readings


A goal of this project is to find technological and/or data ways to enforce existing consumer protection laws in online activities. Here are some examples.

Activity. Experimental Design

Divide into groups of up to 5 people. Become part of a group of people with whom you have not yet worked. Choose a group leader who will be responsible for writing your experimental design and making the presentation next week. The group leader must be a person that has not yet been a group leader.

Your group will tackle one of the areas above. Next week you will make a presentation about an experiment and the week afterwards, you will do an experiment, though not necessarily the one you design.

Important. At the end of the session today, login to the Course Wiki and identify your group as being one of the names groups listed there for Project 3. Identify your group members and the group leader. Write a sentence of two about the experiment you will likely address.

Paper and Presentation (Due Next Week)

Submit a short paper (3-5 pages) from your group describing your experiment. Make a 5 minute presentation of your experimental design. Be sure to include the names of all group members on the paper.

Your experimental design should include: an operational definition of the protection, the data you would capture, how you would capture it, and how you make a determination.

In this course you will write scientific papers. The basic parts of the scientific paper you will write for this assignment will have four parts: an Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion. These should be the headings in your writeup. The Abstract section should be a one paragraph summary stating what you intend to show with the experiment, how and the expected outcome. The Introduction describes why your experiment is important. You should not assume the person reading the paper knows anything about this assignment. Include references and use authoritative sources to make your points. You should not make any sweeping or unsubstantiated statements in your writing. End the Introduction with a description of the hypothesis you will test. The Methods section is where you describe the experiment you would do to test the hypothesis. You will not likely have results for the experiment, though you may likely have preliminary results that provide an expected outcome for your experiment. Use the Discussion section to explain why this test would prove or disprove the hypothesis. Include at least one statement about the limits of your approach. An example of this format appears on the Course Wiki. See the write-up on the Gov1430 class-wide experiment.

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