SSRIC Teaching Resources Depository
California Opinions on Women's Issues -- 1985-1995
Elizabeth N. Nelson and Edward E. Nelson, California State University, Fresno

Appendix B:
Notes to the Instructor

© The Authors, 1998; Last Modified 15 August 1998
DATA

The data for this module are available as SPSS for Windows system files. The diskette containing these files may be obtained by writing Edward or Elizabeth Nelson, Department of Sociology, California State University, Fresno, 93740-0107, or you may download them from here in SPSS *.por (portable) format. There are three files containing the sample data for 1985 (called sr85.por), 1991 (called sr91.por), and 1995 (called sr95.por) and another file containing all the variables in all three years (called sr8595.por).

SPSS FOR WINDOWS

There is an introduction to the basics of SPSS for Windows available for your use, SPSS for Windows Version 7.5: A Basic Tutorial (Edward Nelson, Elizabeth Ness Nelson, Richard Shaffer, Nan Chico, John Korey, James Ross). This can be ordered from McGraw-Hill (ISBN 0-07-366023-X). It is a basic introduction to SPSS and can be used as a supplement for a class or as a tutorial to learn SPSS by oneself. The hypertext version is available at this website.

WEIGHTED DATA

The data for both 1985, 1991, and 1995 were weighted to make the sample better represent the population of California with respect to sex, age, and political party registration.

CODEBOOK

The codebook is included in this module as Appendix A. A list of all the variables for student use is at the end of the codebook. A brief introduction to using the codebook is at the beginning. A variable (YEAR) was created specifying the year of the survey. If you are using the file containing all three years (SR8595.SAV), remember that you must either select out the cases for one of the years or use YEAR as a control variable in a crosstabulation to be able to distinguish one year from the other year.

CUSTOMIZING THE MODULE

The module can be integrated into your classes in many ways. One approach is to assign the introductory chapters to be read by the students and work through the simpler exercises in class. Ideally students should be given the opportunity to use the computer themselves and not just watch you do it. Later, exercises can be assigned as homework and then reviewed in class. Chapter 5 and Chapter 7 contain a culminating exercise in which students choose a problem, produce the appropriate tables and statistics, interpret the tables, and write a brief research report.

A second approach is for faculty to develop their own exercises to accompany the module. There is no reason that you should limit yourself to the exercises we developed. If you do develop your own exercises, be sure to test them before assigning them.

A third approach is for faculty to use the data set accompanying the module but not use the module itself. You would have to develop your own introductory material to make it relevant to your particular class.

Some of the California questions can be compared to national data. For example, the question about favoring or opposing efforts to strengthen and change women's status in society today was included in the Virginia Slim's surveys on women available through the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR).

The module could also be used by more advanced students as independent studies. The chapters, "Historical Overview of Women in American Society" and "Public Opinion on Women's Roles," include a discussion of the history of the status and roles of women in the United States. The chapters, "Survey Research Design and Quantitative Methods of Analysis for Cross-sectional Data," "Introducing a Control Variable (Multivariate Analysis)," and "Research Design and Methods of Analysis for Change Over Time," could be used by students wanting to learn how to analyze categorical data using crosstabulation, chi square, and measures of association.

The only statistics used in the module are percentages, chi square, Cramer's V, and Gamma. You could skip over all these statistics except percentages or you could introduce other statistical techniques.

Two other appendices are included for your possible use. Appendix C contains supplemental instructional materials. Appendix D contains a description of how to compute the measures of association used in this module--Cramer's V and Gamma.


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