Sociology | Charts, Graphs & Tables
S110 | 0575 | Nenga


Gregg Easterbrook once said “Torture numbers, and they’ll confess to
anything.”  In this course, we will take an introductory look at the
world of number torturing.
Charts, Graphs and Tables blends a course in quantitative
reasoning (some would say number torturing) with an introductory
sociology class.  Most days we will talk more about quantitative
reasoning concepts, but some days we will focus more on sociological
tools and concepts.  Throughout the semester we will turn a
sociological eye on ourselves and examine various aspects of college
such as grading, drinking, cheating and so on.  At times, we will
turn our sociological eyes outward and  consider some of the
controversies in social science statistics.  We will look at how
data are collected, constructed and presented in tables and graphs.
At the end of this course you should be able to pick up a
newspaper and critically evaluate the social science research,
tables and graphs presented there.  Also, you should be able to
design a small scale survey and present the results accurately in a
variety of workplace and community settings.  In other words, you
should be able to manipulate numbers properly, and you should be
able to tell when others have been torturing the numbers to make
them lie.  Through active engagement with class concepts and
readings, students should develop their quantitative reasoning
skills, their sociological imagination, and their ability to
construct accurate and meaningful charts, graphs and tables.
This subject matter is best learned by doing rather than
reading.  As a result, the reading load for this course is light
(about 15-30 pages per night).  However, the homework load is quite
heavy.  There are 3 assignments (which may be done with a partner)
and 3 exams.  Some students will work in groups of 4 to design,
administer, analyze and present the results of a survey.  This group
project has 5 due dates spread throughout the semester.