Each of the teaching modules we have created contains:
- a theoretical perspective and background on an important social science topic,
- a discussion of methods used to research the topic,
- a set of exercises (with a data set) to teach analytic techniques for arriving at scientifically valid conclusions about the topic using SPSS or other statistical packages.
CENS: U.S. Census
Exploring the U.S. Census, by Eugene Turner, Department of Geography, California State University, Northridge.
The Census Module is designed to provide an introduction to two major digital tabulations of the decennial census - the Summary Tape Files and the Public-use Microdata Sample (PUMS). In addition to working with the structures of these two data bases, students are exposed to their content and to methods of extracting census information from the files stored at the SSDBA. The module provides several data extracts from the census and illustrates a few methods used by demographers to describe places and to examine population characteristics such as age, migration, ethnicity, and income.
COWI: California Opinions on the Status of Women
California Opinions on Women's Issues -- 1985-1995, by Elizabeth N. Nelson and Edward E. Nelson, Department of Sociology, California State University, Fresno.
Chapters include: An Historical Overview of Women in American Society; Public Opinion on Women's Issues ; Survey Research Design and Quantitative Methods of Analysis for Cross-sectional Data; Introducing a Control Variable (Multivariate Analysis); Exercises Using Data from 1995 Field Poll on Women's Issues; Research Design and Methods of Analysis for Change Over Time; Exercises for Change Over Time
Exploring the Macroeconomy: An instructional module, using SPSS, the US national income and product accounts, and additional data from the Departments of Labor and Commerce, by James Gerber, Department of Economics, San Diego State University.
This module is designed to fill the gap between an introductory statistics course and either principles of macroeconomics or intermediate macroeconomics. The goal is to bring empirical analysis into macro theory courses and to bring macro examples into statistics courses.
Chapter 1 covers introductory material that is found in most principles of economics texts, including the national income and product accounts and the circular flow of demand and income. Chapter 2 briefly highlights the development of macroeconomic thought since Keynes. These chapters are designed to provide background material, especially for statistics students who may not have taken principles of economics.
The remainder of the module (Chapters 3-7) provides a series of guided exercises with annual U.S. data, 1929-1996. These exercises begin with the simple graphing of variables and descriptive statistics, and then move through most of the topics found in the statistical inference component of a first course in economic statistics. These exercises begin at a level that is accessible to students without a first course in statistics and become progressively more sophisticated. The module ends with several examples of regression analysis.
PERS: -----Module in progress----
***Needs introduction page and module page description
REPR: Representation in California's State Legislature
Representation in California's State Legislature by John L. Korey, Department of Political Science, California State Polytechnic University Pomona and JeDon Emenhiser, Department of Government and Politics, Humboldt State University.
This module offers you ways to learn more about the theory and practice of popular government. It focuses upon political representation and legislative behavior and allows you to compare representative policymaking in the California state legislature with the making of policy through the direct democratic device of the initiative process. It utilizes demographic data from the U.S. census, from election returns for the state legislature, from rollcall votes in the legislature, and from votes for and against popular initiatives. The focus on Analyzing Legislative Behavior includes Party Behavior, Interest Groups, Region or Area, Policy Issues, District Ideology, District Partisanship, Election Outcomes, Member Characteristics, and Member Voting Behavior. There is also an extensive discussion of statistical procedures.
Pedagogical significance of module. Substantively, the REPR module provides students with data that can be used to study the concept of representation in courses on empirical theory, the legislative process, and California politics. Methodologically, it provides students with ratio level data that can be used in univariate analysis, comparisons of means, least squares (regression) analysis, and the creation of various graphic displays of information.
SCCS: The Standard Cross-Cultural Sample
The Standard Cross-Cultural Sample by Philip Silverman, Department of Anthropology, California State University, Bakersfield.
The comparative method has been one of the hallmarks of anthropology since its inception in the middle of the 19th Century. Although at various times it was neglected as researchers focused on the less daunting task of understanding a single cultural system, it remains one of the most distinctive contributions that can be made by a science whose data base attempts to account for all cultural systems both temporally and spatially throughout the world. But the efforts of comparativists have been fraught with controversy and methodological barriers that can defeat the faint-hearted. Examination of the data made available here will provide students with an opportunity to evaluate the usefulness of testing hypotheses globally within the framework of pre-coded variables from a systematic sample of the known cultures in the world.
SISS: Public Opinion on Social Issues
Public Opinion on Social Issues, 1975-1996 by Elizabeth N. Nelson and Edward E. Nelson, Department of Sociology, California State University, Fresno.
The SISS module was designed to introduce students to the basics of data analysis. The focus is on two and three variable crosstabulations. Chi square and measures of association (Gamma, Cramer's V) are introduced and may or may not be used as the intructor wishes. The codebook includes some variables in both recoded and unrecoded form (age, education) so the instructor may teach recoding or not teach it. Variables have been created and added to the data set for religiosity and tolerance. There are two data sets--one that includes only the 1996 file and the other that includes data from four years (1996, 1989, 1982, 1975). Instructors can choose to focus on a detailed analysis of a single year or on change over time. The 1996 is approximately twice the size of the other three years. The focus of the module is on developing and testing hypotheses.