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.