Sociology | Charts, Graphs & Tables
S110 | 6851 | O'Brien


4:PM-5:35PM   MTWR   BH 204

Our daily lives are inundated with statistics about the society in
which we live. “Half of all new marriages end in divorce,” “the US
will reduce oil imports by one third over the next decade,”  “the
federal budget deficit topped ten percent of GDP in 2010.” Because
social statistics like these can be very persuasive, journalists,
pundits, politicians, and others often cite them in order to bolster
their arguments. This course will focus on providing students a better
understanding of how social statistics are produced, interpreted, and
presented. In doing so, this course will help students better
distinguish between reliable, valid knowledge and junk science as it
appears in the charts, graphs, and tables that we encounter in our
everyday lives.

In this course, we will be critical consumers of quantitative social
scientific knowledge and its graphical representation in books,
newspapers, on the web and wherever else it may be found. We will
study classical sociological concepts like race and ethnicity, gender,
and inequality in order to examine the production and interpretation
of social statistics, and the concepts, measures, and methods that
researchers use to study our society. In short, this course provides a
behind-the-scenes glimpse at the production of social scientific
knowledge.