Introduction to Statistical Analysis
This course introduces students to the basic tools of statistics and shows how they are used in the analysis of social science data. A fundamental understanding of these tools is a critical foundation for social science research in many fields. The course covers descriptive statistics, inference from samples, hypothesis testing, and the basics of regression analysis.
Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to complete the following tasks:
- Explain basic concepts of social statistics (e.g., population vs. sample, sampling distribution).
- Summarize numeric data by computing descriptive statistics (e.g., mean, variance) and by creating tables and graphs. For each procedure, you will learn a hand calculation method (using calculators) and a computer method (using software such as SPSS).
- Compute various inferential statistics (e.g., t-score) using both hand calculation and computer methods.
- Test hypotheses applying probability theory.
- Explain the differences among various statistical techniques and identify an appropriate technique for a given set of variables and research questions.
This course is designed to introduce you to the fundamental terminology, concepts, interpretation and communication of the descriptive and inferential statistics most commonly encountered in social scientific research.
Learning statistics is like learning an everyday language of social sciences. A great deal of social research uses surveys, public opinion polls, censuses and other sources of quantitative data to document, describe, and explain a wide range of social phenomena. To join the conversations being conducted in this realm of research, you must be literate in the vocabulary of research, data analysis, and scientific thinking. Knowledge of statistics will enable you to understand professional research literature, communicate with experienced social scientists, conduct quantitative research yourself, and contribute to the growing body of social science knowledge.