SOCI-203 Social Statistics
Fall for 2017-2018
Faculty:
MW 12:30 – 1:45pm
WAL 391

Are homeowners more involved in their communities than renters? Does performance on standardized exams vary according to classroom size? When college sports teams are winning, do college students study less? Do foreclosures increase crime in Washington, DC neighborhoods? How have attitudes towards abortion changed in the United States over the past two decades? What impact does a criminal record have on job opportunities? To answer these – and countless other – research questions, social scientists turn to a set of research tools know as statistics. Statistics refers to the tools and procedures social researchers use to collect, measure, describe and analyze quantitative data. These tools help researchers to understand whether variables in the world are related to each other. They also enable researchers make predictions about the future and to identify causal relationships in the social world. This course introduces students to a range of topics in statistical analysis, including collecting and describing data; creating graphical displays of quantitative information; identifying relationships among variables; and testing research hypotheses. By the end of the course, students will develop a toolbox of statistical procedures to investigate the social world. They will gain familiarity with actual social science datasets used to analyze trends in social attitudes and behaviors. In addition to developing skills as social researchers, students will become critical consumers of quantitative data, thinking seriously about the way quantitative information is analyzed and presented in their everyday lives.

Prerequisites: Sociology Majors and Minors only
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: SOCI-201 or permission of instructor

Sections:

SOCI-203-01 Social Statistics
Fall for 2017-2018
TR 9:30 - 10:45 AM

This is an introduction to statistical analysis of social data. It presumes no math knowledge beyond high school algebra and no more than basic computer literacy. It is intended for the beginning social researcher. It introduces the logic of statistical reasoning and all of the basic statistical measures used in elementary analysis of social data. Students who have not had any sociology courses must get the permission of the instructor for admission to this course.

The course includes the following topics: various methods of summarizing, presenting and comparing descriptive data graphically and in summary measures of central tendency and of variation; the normal distribution and probability theory; methods of examining the strength and significance of relationships among variables; hypothesis testing; chi-square; analysis of variance; multi-variate tabular analysis; and multiple regression and correlation.

Students perform statistical analyses of real data sets (including the General Social Survey, the premier database for social scientists) with a user-friendly PC-based statistical package (an individual copy of which comes with each textbook). (Mac-version not available.) Homework problems are due about once every week and a half.

By the end of the course the student should develop the ability to:
• use measures of central tendency and of variation
• interpret measures of association
• create and interpret multivariate tables
• understand the meaning and application of certain statistical tests: chi square, one-way ANOVA; multivariate correlation and regression
• understand the logic of hypothesis testing
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: Sociology Majors and Minors only
More information
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