Sociology | Statistics for Sociology
S371 | 3649 | James

S371 Statistics for Sociology  James          1:00-2:15 TR   3649
Lab  9:05-9:55 W    3650
10:10-11:00 W  3651
11:15-12:05 W  3652

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.