S371 | 3692 | David James

THIS SECTION DOES NOT MEET COAS MATH REQUIREMENT S371 is a statistics course required for undergraduate majors in Sociology. It provides an introduction to statistical theories and techniques appropriate for answering sociological questions through the analysis of quantitative data. No prior knowledge of statistics is assumed but students must have a good understanding of algebra. If you have never had a course in algebra at the high school level or above, you should consider taking one before taking this course. Descriptive and inferential statistics are covered in this course. Descriptive statistics are used to describe or summarize sets of numbers. For example, if you wanted to know the grade point average of a student at IU, you could add up the number of grade points that the student earned for all courses and then divide by the total number of credit hours earned. The result is the student's average number of grade points per credit hour earned (or grade point average). Grade point average is a descriptive statistic. Inferential statistics are designed to test sociological theories based upon samples of data when it is not possible or too expensive to obtain all of the information needed from a population of interest. Using a sample to estimate the proportion of voters who will vote for a political candidate is an example of inferential statistics. By making good choices about who to interview, one can generalize to the national level, for all 180 million adult Americans, from the information obtained from only about 2500 people. Inferences are educated guesses and students will learn how to distinguish good from bad guesses. You will also learn the following: how to construct and describe frequency distributions, how to calculate and interpret measures of central tendency and dispersion, how to tabulate data, how to measure the association between two variables and how to control statistically for a third, the logic of statistical inference and hypothesis testing, how to decide if tow groups of people are different on some characteristic such as income, education, wealth, age, occupation, skill, birth rates, death rates, or voting behavior and how to estimate and interpret a linear regression model. The course will focus on doing statistics. Doing statistics will require numerical computations, some by hand, some using hand calculators or personal computers. Nevertheless, I will de-emphasize calculations per se, and concentrate instead on concepts and the information conveyed by the numbers. Attendance: Students must register for and attend one of the three labs listed above. Attendance in labs and classes is strongly encouraged. Some short in-class assignments will be collected and will contribute to the course grade. Make-up work for these in-class assignments will not be permitted. Required Text: I plan to use the new text by David S. Moore (The Active Practice of Statistics. W. H. Freeman, 1998) that makes extensive use of an included CD-ROM. The CD contains video and audio presentations of statistics concepts and examples, problem sets, the statistical analysis software DataDesk that can be used to solve statistical problems, and other innovative features that provide students with a variety of ways to learn and use statistics to solve common problems.