Introduction to Social Science Data Analysis Using SPSS
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Data Analysis, Social Causation, Exercise
For this assignment you will perform an analysis
of survey data collected from California State University students
and Behavioral Characteristics of College Students." You will do the
computer analysis by following the steps in the Tutorial:
Introduction to SPSS and Data Analysis.
If your instructor expects a formal report, follow the outline steps in
Research Procedure listed below. Your write up should have
a section for each step of the Research Procedure.
|I. Take the CSURVY94
to become familiar with the questions. While taking the survey think about
possible topics (potential bases for hypothesis). You will then
state your topic as a hypothesis and test the hypothesis through analysis
of survey data on CSU students in 1994. For some basics on analysis
of your data look at Statistics
My example: I am interested in primary group
norms for males and females. What are the norms and how do they differ
between men and women, how have they changed. The example in the
tutorial is a guide to one way we could find information on this topic
using a survey of students to test an hypothesis about this topic.
II. Using the "Basic Research Procedure" listed below,
write up a research topic, review the literature to develop a theoretical
perspective, specify a hypothesis, perform analysis and write up your project.
You will perform the following:
Based on your general knowledge and knowledge from
this course (Introductory Sociology, Social Stratification, Critical Thinking,
etc.) pick from the "Opinions
and Behavioral Characteristics of College Students" an independent
variable and a dependent variable** you think might be
related. You may examine more than two variables if you wish, but only
two are required for this assignment.
Research Procedure: Follow the steps below in this exercise
and in your write up. My example (from the SPSS
tutorial) is listed in
Note: For clarity we are limiting this example to
- Select a topic: State your topic in terms
of the variables you chose. State the topic (your research problem) in
a clear, understandable manner.
My topic is traditionally voiced primary group
norms for males and females.
- Review the literature: Do this with readily
available sources: your text, class notes, current news reports you read
in the paper, books or journal articles. Introductory texts in Economics,
Sociology or Political Science are good sources for information on your
topic. [You should cite your sources. Cite sources using an
professional formatting style.] Summarize agreements and disagreements
in available resources. Try and reach conclusions about what further research
should be done.
For my topic I would look up and cite
sources on opinions and studies about the treatment of men and
women and how these have changed. I would point out that while there has
been much change in formal and legal aspects of treatment of men and women,
it is still not true that women are treated as equals, so discovering
the current differences in treatment are important. Of particular importance
is the differences in the way males and females are treated in primary
group relationships and by parents, relatives, friends, etc.
- Formulate the problem: Define the problem
in terms of a specific hypothesis testable with data from the student
survey. A hypothesis is an educated guess, a proposed relationship
of cause (the independent variable) and effect (the dependent variable).
Carefully and completely identify independent, dependent and possibly other
variables that are important and explain why in terms of your expectations
derived from number 2 (this is your research hypothesis).
- State your hypothesis
Are males or females more likely to receive financial
support from relatives or friends.
- State the dependent and independent variables (the
causes and effects, it is the relationship you are examining.
For my example, gender is independent and financial
support is dependent.
- What reasons do you have for believing the
variables are related.
- Summarize "2" with sources for your hypothesis.
Your text, news articles, etc.
Men are expected to receive....
- Be sure and explain your logic for believing there
is a relationship.
This relationship is seen as...
- Create a research design: Since the study
has been done, you are performing "secondary research." Simply state the
method (survey) and sampling procedure (these are specified in the survey)
and measurement instrument (specific questions you used to test your hypothesis)
specified on the first page from the CSURVY94
- What method was used?
Secondary research of survey data
- What sampling procedure was used? Be sure
to specify the population and sample (these are specified in the survey)
Representative students from five CSU campuses
in spring 1994...
- What were the questions you used from the
survey (repeat the exact wording from CSURVY94).
(10) HOW MUCH FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR COLLEGE ARE
YOU RECEIVING FROM PARENTS, RELATIVES OR FRIENDS--AS A PERCENTAGE OF ALL COLLEGE COSTS?
2. 25% or less
5. more than 75%
- Collect data: The data are already collected
so all you will need to do is report when the data were collected.
Go to the computer lab and run the tables (use the step by step computer
Introduction to SPSS and Data Analysis and use your variables
in place of mine).
- Interpreting and analyzing data: Examine
your table and write up what it shows (supports your hypothesis, rejects
your hypothesis, inconclusive, etc. and why). We will discuss how to read
a table in class.
- Explain your table - description of individual
variable distributions and relationship between variables. Don't worry
about statistics except for those we discuss in class; just look at the
table and tell me what the distribution shows.
- State whether the table supports or rejects your
hypothesis. If the answer is no, it does not support your hypothesis, offer
a reason as to why not.
- Make suggestions as to further research on this
topic (e.g., restatement of question, different sample or population, other
questions [specify] etc.).
- Publishing findings: Write up as a formal paper. Your paper
must be typed, tables should be cut from printed output and pasted to the
appropriate page location in your paper. Your write-up should be carefully
organized around the steps listed above and care should be taken to be
clear and unambiguous to your audience. The last page of your paper should
be a bibliography following an acceptable
professional formatting style. Your audience is students who
are notin this class. You should be able to have a friend read
your paper and be able to explain what you did. Be able to give a
verbal summary of your efforts on this assignment if asked.
Possible Grading Criteria:
Your annotations should be well written (typed with your name, date
and assignment number at the top), grammatical, complete, free of spelling
errors. You will be graded down for papers that look like first drafts.
Organize carefully and clearly, proof before submitting.
Remember, your audience is someone like yourself who is not taking this class.
The reader should be able to read, understand and apply the ideas used
in your paper.
(1) Typed professional quality of your paper -- your name, class,
date and assignment number should be at the top right of your paper. Proper
referencing (APA, MLA, etc.), identifying the sources, should be included
at the end of your paper if needed.
(2) Precise use of concepts. The concepts you use should be used
correctly; be certain that you understand them.
(3) Subtlety or profundity of the annotation. This is a rather
more subjective criterion. It identifies the difference between acceptable
and accurate work on the one hand, and, on the other, really interesting
work. In other words, the difference between "C" or "B" work and
**Independent variable and dependent
variable; the independent variable is the cause. The dependent variable
is that which is affected by the cause. For example, heat under
a pot of water is the independent variable while the changing temperature
of the water is the dependent variable, the effect.