Sociology | Charts, Graphs & Tables
S110 | 3856 | Robinson
S110 Charts, Graphs & Tables (3 CR)
3856 1:00-2:15 MW BH219
MEETS NMMC COAS DISTRIBUTION REQUIREMENT
This course will introduce you to the central concepts,
methods, and perspectives of sociology by developing your
skills as a consumer and producer of charts, graphs, and
tables. These data displays are used to illustrate social
trends as well as the contemporary reality in crime, divorce,
the economy, etc.; to assess political programs; and to test
social science theories. Over the course of the semester, you
will learn how to read, interpret, and evaluate the accuracy of
graphical information; how to present social trends and
comparisons in interesting visual formats; and how to find
information on the World Wide Web and in government documents.
You will also gain hands-on experience using computers and U.S.
census data to analyze the social trends and patterns that are
at the heart of doing sociology. You will learn to use a simple
software program, StudentChip, to analyze data from the 1950 to
1990 U.S. Censuses in order to investigate (and graphically
present) how our society has changed in the last forty years.
Drawing on sociological concepts, theories, and research
presented in class and in the readings, you will build your own
arguments for the reasons behind the changes that you have
uncovered. Among the topics that we will cover over the course
of the semester are: changes in the organization of work and
economy; the "browning" of America; the Baby Boom and its
effects on your life; the American class structure; the effects
of growing up male or female; race and its consequences in
America; poverty, welfare, and underclass communities; trends
and sources of strain in family life; consequences of divorce
for children and adults; and crime and the criminal justice
system. We will study both the historical roots and the current
forms of these social phenomena and explore the connections
among social structure, culture, and human behavior. The
understandings and skills that you will learn in the course are
important for any citizen to have and are essential in a
variety of professions where information-processing is a
central component of the job.
Over the course of the semester, we'll read two paperback books
by sociologists, a reader, a workbook of exercises using
StudentChip, and a short booklet on using graphs to make
Frank Furstenberg and Andrew Cherlin, Divided Families: What
Happens to Children When Parents Part. Cambridge, MA: Harvard
University Press, 1994.
G. William Domhoff, Who Rules America? Power and Politics in
the Year 2000. Third Edition. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield
Publishing Co., 1998.
Nancy J. Davis and Robert V. Robinson (editors). Sociological
Perspectives on American Society (2nd edition). New York: Simon
& Schuster, 1996.
William H. Frey with Cheryl L. First, Investigating Change in
American Society: Exploring Social Trends with U.S. Census Data
and StudentChip. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Co., 1997.
Edward R. Tufte, Visual and Statistical Thinking: Displays of
Evidence for Making
Decisions. Cheshire, CT: Graphics Press, 1997.