SSRIC Teaching Resources Depository
Public Opinion on Social Issues -- 1975-1996
Elizabeth N. Nelson and Edward E. Nelson, California State University, Fresno

SISS Appendix B:
Notes to the Instructor

© The Authors, 1998; Last Modified 15 August 1998

The data for this module are available as SPSS for Windows portable files. There is one file containing only the 1996 sample data (called sisssp1.por) and another file containing the variables in all four years (called sisssp2.por). These files can be downloaded from the Social Sciences Teaching Resources Depository website.



There is an introduction to the basics of SPSS for Windows available for your use, SPSS for Windows Version 6: A Basic Tutorial (Edward Nelson, Elizabeth Ness Nelson, Richard Shaffer, Nan Chico, John Korey, James Ross). This can be ordered from McGraw-Hill (ISBN 0-07-913673-7). 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. There is also a revision of this book for version 7.5, SPSS for Windows Version 7.5: A Basic Tutorial. The ISBN is 0-07-366023-X. The version 7.5 book is on the Social Sciences Teaching Resources Depository website.



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 four years (sisssp2.por), 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. The codebook is available on the Social Sciences Teaching Resources Depository website.



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. Chapters 4 and 6 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.

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.

Module Table of Contents