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					Soc4002, Data Analysis                       Course Syllabus                                    Page 1

                                   Sociology 4002, Data Analysis
                                             Fall 2008

                           Class: 26 Anderson Hall, 10:40-11:30am, MWF
                    Lab: 847 Gladfelter Hall, 8:40-10:30am, W; 9:40-11:30am, Th

Professor Shanyang Zhao                              Edward Natale, TA
759 Gladfelter Hall, 204-7767                        745 Gladfelter Hall,                   
Office Hours: 1:30-4:30pm, MW                        Office Hours:

Course Objectives

This course introduces you to the logic and practice of secondary data analysis in social research. It
focuses on four topics: (1) how to formulate research problems based on literature review; (2) how
to turn research problems into hypotheses that are empirically testable; (3) how to test research
hypotheses through statistical analysis of survey data; and (4) how to present research findings in
oral as well as written form. Through hands-on practices, you will develop skills for literature
review, hypothesis formulation, statistical analysis, and the presentation of research findings.

Required Readings

        Materials posted on Blackboard

Recommended Readings:

        Earl Babbie, Fred Halley, and Jeanne Zaino. 2004. Adventures in Social Research: Data
        Analysis Using SPSS for Windows. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press.

        James A. Davis and Tom W. Smith. 1992. The NORC General Social Survey: A User’s
        Guide. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Data Set

        General Social Survey 2002 (

Attendance and Participation

This class involves a lot of hands-on practices and in-class discussions. You are expected to
complete assigned readings and lab exercises before coming to class and to engage in an active
exchange of ideas with fellow classmates while in class. Attendance is mandatory. Excused
Soc4002, Data Analysis                       Course Syllabus                                   Page 2

absences include verifiable medical reasons, family emergencies, and individual situations approved
by the instructor. You must notify the instructor within 24 hours if you wish to have an absence
considered excused. Missing more than 30 minutes of class counts as an absence.

Assignments and Lab Exercises

1. Ten Lab Exercises
2. Two Papers
3. One PowerPoint Presentation

A lab exercise will be assigned at the end of every Monday class for the first ten weeks and each
exercise must be turned in at the beginning of the subsequent Monday class. No points will be
given for late assignments. The first paper focuses on literature review and hypothesis formulation,
and the second paper builds on the first one, adding the results of data analysis. In addition, each
student is required to give a 5-minute PowerPoint presentation on his or her research findings to the
class at the end of the semester.

Grading Scheme

Ten Lab Exercises:            10 points (1 point per exercise)
Paper One:                    30 points (due on October 13)
Paper Two:                    50 points (due on December 15)
Presentation & Attendance:    10 points

Disability Disclosure

Any student who has a need for accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact
the instructor privately to discuss the specific situation as soon as possible. Contact Disability
Resources and Services at 215-204-1280 in 100 Ritter Annex to coordinate reasonable
accommodations for students with documented disabilities.

Statement on Academic Freedom:

Freedom to teach and freedom to learn are inseparable facets of academic freedom. The University
has adopted a policy on Student and Faculty Academic Rights and Responsibilities (Policy #
03.70.02) which can be accessed through the following link:
Soc4002, Data Analysis                           Course Syllabus                                       Page 3

                                    Week-by-Week Course Calendar

 Weeks                             Topics and Exercises                                    Labs

 Wk 1       EXERCISE 1: create a data set from scratch                           - Learn about
                                                                                   SPSS & GSS 2002
            Read the article, "Do Internet users have more social ties? A call
            for differentiated analyses of Internet use," available at

            (1) Analyze the structure of this article, focusing on how the
            different parts relate to each other
            (2) If you were to condense this article into three parts, what
            would these three parts be and why?

            Reading: “Introduction”

            9/3: Introduction to the course
            9/5: Conduct an in-class survey

 Wk 2       EXERCISE 2: understand the logic of data analysis                    - Enter the in-class
                                                                                 survey data and create a
            Discuss the structure of the recommended article; learn about the    data set with all the
            logic of data analysis; choose your own research topic               variables and values
                                                                                 fully defined
            Reading: “Process of Data Analysis”
                                                                                 - Run a frequency
            9/8:    Structure of the sample article                              distribution on all the
            9/10:   Logic of data analysis                                       variables & interpret
            9/12:   GSS 2002 topical modules and selection of research topic     the results

 Wk 3       EXERCISE 3: choose a topical module                                  - Construct a list of
                                                                                 variables from a GSS
            Read the GSS 2002 codebook, choose a topical module, create a        2002 topical module
            data set containing the module plus some basic demographic
            variables, and run frequencies on all the variables.                 - Create a data set that
                                                                                 contains these variables
            (1) State one research question and give one answer (hypothesis)
            (2) Select the variables you will use to test your hypothesis        - Run frequencies and
            (3) Choose a statistical procedure for analyzing the variables       crosstabs

            Reading: “Tying Concepts to Observations”                            - Interpret the results

            9/15:   Introduction to GSS
            9/17:   Univariate data analysis
            9/19:   Bivariate relationships – correlation and causation
Soc4002, Data Analysis                             Course Syllabus                                        Page 4

 Wk 4       EXERCISE 4: conduct a literature review                               - Search literature using
                                                                                  JSTOR, Sociological
            Locate three or more recent articles related to the topic you have    Abstracts, Web of
            chosen, read these articles carefully and identify a few issues you   Science, Google
            want to investigate using the data you have extracted from GSS        Scholar, etc.
            2002, and answer the following questions:
                                                                                  - Read and critique
            (1) What is the issue that interests you and why?                     related literature
            (2) What have others said about this issue?
            (3) Do you agree or disagree with what has been said and why?         - Run crosstabs and
            (4) What variables and procedures do you plan to use and why?         interpret the results

            9/22:   Crosstabulation analysis
            9/24:   Literature search
            9/26:   Literature review

 Wk 5       EXERCISE 5: conduct initial bivariate analyses                        - Formulate research
            Critique the literature, state your research problem, formulate two
            research hypotheses, test these hypotheses using the data you have    - Conduct bivariate
            selected, and report your test results:                               analyses using cross
                                                                                  tabulation, t test, or
            (1) State your research problem and explain how it is related to      correlation
            the existing literature
            (2) Formulate and justify two bivariate research hypotheses
            (3) Report and interpret the results of your initial analyses

            9/29:   Strategies for issue framing
            10/1:   Hypothesis formulation
            10/3:   Requirements for paper one

 Wk 6       EXERCISE 6: work on paper one (due next Mondy)                        - Help with paper one

            10/6: Evaluate the initial result
            10/8: Measurement error
            10/10: Operationalization issue
Soc4002, Data Analysis                           Course Syllabus                                         Page 5

 Wk 7       EXERCISE 7: conduct significance test                                  - Transform variables

            Paper One Due: 10/13                                                   - Recode into the same
                                                                                   or new variable
            Improve your initial analyses, provide a measure of association
            for each bivariate relationship, and conduct a significance test for   - Compute variables
            each measure of association:
                                                                                   - Rerun the crosstabs
            (1) Refine your research problem and research hypotheses
            (2) Add measures of association and p-values
            (3) Reexamine your research hypotheses

            10/13: Trick of recoding
            10/15: Measure of association
            10/17: Logic of significance test

 Wk 8       EXERCISE 8: pause and reflect                                          - Lambda/ Goodman &
                                                                                   Kruskal’s tau
            Evaluate your initial analyses, propose ways to improve your           - Gamma/ Kendall’s tau
            results, e.g., switch to a new topical module, study a different       - Pearson's r
            research problem, use new variables, try different recodes
                                                                                   - Chi-square test
            (1) Assess the successfulness of your initial analyses                 - t test
            (2) Discuss measurement issues regarding each variable                 - ANOVA test
            (3) Decide what to do next and explain why

            Reading: “Control and Elaboration”

            10/20:   Importance of the third variable
            10/22:   Lurking variable and suppressor
            10/24:   Interaction effect

 Wk 9       EXERCISE 9: introduce a third variable                                 - Conduct three-way
                                                                                   cross tabulation
            Use a third variable to explicate the bivariate relationships you      analyses
            examined (assume the relationships are statistically significant)
                                                                                   - Obtain subgroup
            (1) Explain the purpose of the third variable                          measures of association
            (2) Hypothesize the impact of the third variable                       & p-values
            (3) Report and discuss the results of your tri-variate analyses
                                                                                   - Interpret the results
            Reading: “Index Construction”

            10/27:   Summary of trivariate analysis
            10/29:   Index construction
            10/31:   Dimensionality and Cronbach’s alpha
Soc4002, Data Analysis                          Course Syllabus                               Page 6

 Wk 10      EXERCISE 10: construct an index variable                    - Recode variables

            Seek to improve or change your results through recoding &   - Construct indexes
            combining variables
                                                                        - Calculate Cronbach's
            (1) Examine the need to recode variables                    alpha
            (2) Examine the need to combine variables
            (3) Re-run the crosstabs using the modified variables
            (4) Report and discuss the new results

            11/3: Chi-square test
            11/5: T test and ANOVA
            11/7: Regression

 Wk 11      Improve your results by using more appropriate procedures   - Conduct tri-variate
                                                                        analyses using
            11/10: Table and chart construction                         correlation, ANOVA,
            11/12: Citation, reference and appendix                     & regression
            11/14: Requirements for the final paper

 Wk 12      Construct tables, charts, and appendices                    - Create tables & charts
                                                                        using Excel
            11/17:    Hypothesis and literature support
            11/19:    Data and measurement
            11/21:    Results and discussion

 Wk 13      Learn how to present a research paper                       - Work on PowerPoint
            11/24: Introduction, conclusion, and abstract
            11/26: Requirements for PowerPoint presentation
            11/28: (Thanksgiving Holiday)

 Wk 14      Learn how to present a research paper using PowerPoint      -Individual consultation

            12/1:    Demonstration
            12/3:    Question & answer
            12/5:    5-minute PowerPoint presentation

 Wk 15      12/8: 5-minute PowerPoint presentation                      - no lab
            12/10: 5-minute PowerPoint presentation
            12/12: (Study Day)

            12/15: Final paper due by 12:00pm – Hard copy only.

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