Computer Applications to Data Management in Sociology
This course will introduce you to data management through a research project of your own. You will learn practical skills that you will be able to use widely, as a student who needs to manage information learned in class, as a researcher who needs to marshal data gathered for a project, or as an employee who needs to organize information for work tasks.
You will learn how to manage both quantitative and qualitative data. Accordingly, the course will be split into two halves, each devoted to one kind of analysis and software. In the first part of the course you will be using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences or SPSS, a user friendly statistical package where all you need to do is to click on pull-down menus. You will learn how to input data in an analyzable, numeric form, then using a real data set representative of the United States, called the General Social Survey, you will have a chance to investigate real social issues. You will learn powerful ways of organizing, describing, depicting and exploring regularities in the data. While you will become familiar with basic statistical concepts, this is not a class in statistics. If you know how to add, subtract, multiply, divide, square and take a square-root with a calculator, you are properly prepared.
We will also introduce a new tool Survey Analysis through Visual Exploration or SUAVE, that allows you to study relationships visually and with the help of zoom technology, investigate cases of special importance.
In the second part of the course you will turn to qualitative data and become acquainted with NVIVO 12, a software that helps you handle qualitative information from unstructured data. You will learn about organizing and linking documents, coding, searching, annotating texts, organizing codes and building theories.
There are no textbooks for the course, but if you are looking for useful books I recommend Adventures in Social Research, by Earl Babbie et al., and Qualitative Data Analysis with NVivo by Pat Bazeley and Kristi Jackson.
SPSS and NVIVO will be available in the Social Science Computing Facility (SSB
139). SUAVE is web based. Although there is no expensive textbook for this
course, I strongly recommend you get your own access to NVIVO. You can rent it for
24 months (for PC $99, for Mac $85). You can also buy it, but that is
more expensive. While having your own NVIVO is important, having your own SPSS
software is more of a convenience. You can own two copies for 6 months for about $35.
(You will be fine with getting the Grad Pack basic package.)
The door code for SSB 139 and SSB 140 is
0513216. You can find
futher details here:
There will be 10 assignments. The first nine each will be worth 7% and the final assignment 20% of your grade. The Midterm will be 12% and another 5% will come from class participation.
The class has a Web site :
It has this syllabus, the assignments and, contains all the statistical material covered in the first part of the course.
GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS for the assignments:
Please be sure to present your responses in an organized, clear, grammatically correct, paragraph format (i.e. no sentence fragments, bullets, etc.). Be sure to proof read, spell check, and make appropriate paragraph breaks when necessary. All homework must be handed in electronically via TritonEd, except for NVIVO files and folders that will stay in your personal directory.
MANAGING QUANTITATIVE DATA (SPSS AND SUAVE)
(Class split between first SSB 101 and then the computer lab)
Introduction to SPSS
The Data Editor: Data Entry
Transforming Data: Computing and Recoding, Composite Measures
Splitting Files and Selecting Cases
Assignment A1 due
Measures of Central Tendency
Visual Presentation: Bar and Pie Chart, Histogram
Assignment A2 due
The Strength of the Relationship and the Significance of the Relationship
Gamma an Ordinal Scale Measure of the Strength of the Relationship
Assignment A3 due
Visualization of Causal Explanation
Make sure you have a question. What do you want to explain? How will you measure it?
What are some of the possible explanations? Have at least three.
What is your dependent variable? What are your independent variables?
Assignment A4 due
Logic of experimentation and multivariate analysis
Assignment A5 due
Explanations and Exceptions
Practicing with SUAVE
MANAGING QUALITIATIVE DATA (NVIVO 10)
Introduction to NVIVO 10
Assignment B1 is due
and Ordering Concepts
Assignment B2 is due
Models, Queries and Visualization
Assignment B4 is due
Final Assignment is due at the time of the final exam.