Sociology | Charts, Graphs & Tables
S110 | 4095 | Nenga
OPEN TO FRESHMEN & SOPHOMORES ONLY
Gregg Easterbrook once said “Torture numbers, and they’ll confess to
anything.” In this course, we will take an introductory look at the
world of number torturing. By the end of this course, you should be
able to manipulate numbers properly, and you should be able to tell
when others have been torturing the numbers to make them lie.
Students with math anxiety are particularly welcome in this class.
Charts, Graphs and Tables blends a course in quantitative
reasoning (some would say number torturing) with an introductory
sociology class. Some days we will talk more about sociological
tools and concepts, and other days we will focus more on quantitative
reasoning concepts. We will start off the semester by turning a
sociological eye on ourselves, and examining various aspects of
college: grading, drinking, cheating and so on. We will use this to
learn how sociologists ask questions, and what the basic theoretical
approaches are. Then we will move on to a topic that is only
slightly more serious than college: disaster and death. In this
section, we will learn how to construct tables and interpret them.
After that we will look at the relationships between flu vaccines and
paralysis, cholera and pump handles, and asthma and roaches. In this
third section on health and medicine, we will look at how
sociologists ask and answer more complicated questions about
intervening variables and spurious relationships. In our final
section, we will revisit the topic of college to determine how
sociologists use graphs to present answers to their questions.
This subject matter is best learned by doing rather than
reading. As a result, the reading load for this course is light
(about 10-15 pages per night). However, the homework load is quite
heavy. There are 4 assignments (which may be done with a partner)
and 3 exams. In addition, students work in groups of 4 to design,
administer, analyze and present the results of a survey. This group
project has 5 due dates spread throughout the semester.
Note: This course replaces S100 as the required introductory course