Sociology | Statistics for Sociology
S371 | 3785 | Van Wey
S371 is a statistics course required for undergraduate majors in
Sociology that also satisfies the COAS Math requirement. 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. Inferential statistics are designed to test sociological
theories based upon samples of data when it too expensive or
impossible to obtain all of the information needed from a population
of interest. In this course, you will learn basic statistics for
answering questions about single variables (e.g. what is the average
income of a group of people? how unequally are incomes distributed in
the group of people?) and about relationships between variables (e.g.
how does income change as people age? how different are the incomes
of men and women?).
Doing statistics involves a certain amount of math. However, my
focus in this class will be on the practice of statistical analysis
by sociologists. You will learn about the mathematical principles
underlying the analyses, and about the ways in which you calculate
certain statistics. But the largest portion of the class will be
targeted toward selecting the right statistic for the job, convincing
the computer to calculate the statistic for you, and then
interpreting the statistic correctly.
This course will use the statistical package SPSS to estimate
statistics on the computer. It is my hope that having a basic
working knowledge of SPSS will be a marketable skill for students
graduating with a BA in Sociology.