Analyzing data

By this stage of the project you have:

  • located Cronulla
  • defined racism
  • become familiar with events at Cronulla Beach on 11 December 2005
  • considered the causes of racism
  • collected relevant sources for your research and considered their point of view.

Organising your information is the first step in any analysis. Organising your information allows you to establish the relevance of each source to your inquiry, and it lends structure to your response to the focus question. Even the loosely organised websites in the previous section hint that this inquiry is working on the hunch that social factors may help us arrive at the causes of racism.

In your research of the events at Cronulla Beach, you have ordered the incidents in a flow chart. This allowed you to describe what had occurred. In this section of the inquiry, you will analyse what had occurred, which means you have to explain why the events happened. In other words, what were the causes of the events at Cronulla Beach? There can be long-term and short-term causes to any event. For example, in our inquiry we can assume that the causes of racism are the long-term or underlying causes of the violence, while actions such as the text messaging were immediate causes of the violence.

  1. Re-examine your research on events at Cronulla, as well as those on the causes of racism. Now complete the Fishbone Diagram, which requires you to show the short-term and long-term causes of the events at Cronulla. Place the short-term causes above the horizontal line, and the long-term causes below.
  2. Compare your diagram to those of others in your group/class, and see whether you agree on the short- and long-term causes of the events at Cronulla.
  3. Explain any relationship that you can see between the short-term causes and the long-term causes? Are they connected?
  4. Now, recall your first ‘hunch’ about whether racism was present at Cronulla Beach. Has your analysis supported or disproved your ‘hunch’.

Sum up your findings

Write a short newspaper article (250 words) in which you explain what happened at Cronulla Beach and why it happened.

Why did this happen at Cronulla? Using population data

In the aftermath of the Cronulla Beach riots, the authorities in cities around Australia were concerned that those events would be repeated in their cities. Thankfully, that did not occur, but this led some researchers to ask: ‘Why Cronulla?’ In the following sources from the Sydney Morning Herald, you will see that, according to researchers, there may have been other suburbs in Sydney where these events, given the right combination of short-term causes, might have occurred.

  1. Read the article and then study the Map of tolerance. Consider why some suburbs are more tolerant than others.
  2. Complete the Plus, Minus and Interesting Chart, listing the factors that make people tolerant in the Plus column, and the factors that make people less tolerant in the Negative Column. In the interesting column, place any inconsistencies or questions you have about the map or article. Compare your responses to others in your group/class.




  1. Now, select two suburbs from the map – one that measured high and one that measured low on the tolerance measure. Visit the Australian Bureau of Statistics website and compare the demographic profile of the two areas. Consider indicators such as those used in the article – education levels, cultural diversity, income levels and others that you think apply. What are the differences? What do they have in common? Use a Venn Diagram to make these comparisons.

Using the Australian Bureau of Statistics website

  1. Go to
  2. Select Regional in the side menu.
  3. Select NSW, Sydney and then the local government areas you are interested in.
  4. Once you have done this, click the ‘Details Tab’. This will download a statistical table in an Excel spreadsheet for the area you selected.
  5. Use the tabs in the Excel sheet to view different kinds of statistical information about your selected areas.

(You will need to download free Adobe SVG software to view the maps and data.)

How does my area fare on the tolerance meter?

Compare your community/suburb/local government area to some of the communities on the Map of tolerance using the Australian Bureau of Statistics website as you did in the previous investigation.

  1. Again, use a Venn Diagram to compare your area to a ‘most tolerant area’, an ‘average tolerant area’, and a ‘least tolerant area’ from the Map of tolerance. Use the same indicators – education levels, income, cultural diversity etc that you used in the previous investigation. How would you classify your area?
  2. What specific knowledge do you have of your area that leads you to challenge or agree with your classification?