S371 | 4100 | Klugman

Our understanding of much of reality relies on statistics. Everyday, the media is saturated with statistical claims about our consumer habits, our opinions, our well-being, and our bodies. Unfortunately, it is easy to misuse statistics to confirm one's biases instead of making honest assessments of social processes. Sociologists need a basic foundation in statistics so they can critically evaluate others' research as well as avoid mistakes when we make our own arguments. S371 is a statistics course required for undergraduate majors in Sociology. It introduces statistical techniques appropriate for answering sociological questions. We will cover both descriptive and inferential statistics. Descriptive statistics describe or summarize sets of numbers. Inferential statistics use sample data to make estimates about the wider population of interest (for example, using surveys to find out which candidate voters will elect). This course will also cover statistics that describe a single variable (e.g. the average income for a group of people) as well as statistics that describe relationships between multiple variables (e.g. how income differs across racial groups). 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. This course has a mandatory lab component which will train you in the use of the statistical package SPSS.