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Unit information: Principles of Quantitative Social Science in 2015/16

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Unit name Principles of Quantitative Social Science
Unit code SPAI20013
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. McAndrew
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

Understanding how to use, present and analyse data, select the right statistical test, interpret the results correctly and to communicate findings honestly and effectively are essential tools in social science, policy research and also in business and commerce. The aim of this research is to introduce students to the principles of statistical enquiry drawing on examples from social scientific research. It will also provide an introduction to the statistical software, SPSS. The unit forms part of the shared interdisciplinary pathway for students taking any of the '... with quantitative research methods' degree programmes in childhood studies, politics, social policy and sociology. It may be open to other students within those Schools.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On completing this unit the student will have knowledge and understanding of descriptive, inferential and relational statistics, the difference between parametric and non-parametric methods, methods of sampling, how to interpret the results of statistical analyses, how to use SPSS, and of some of the common sources of statistical dishonesty and error.

Teaching Information

Lectures, seminars and practical classes

Assessment Information

A 2 hour unseen written examination (100%) plus in-class practical assignments (penalties for non-completion)

Reading and References

Best J, 2012, Damned Lies and Statistics: Untangling Numbers from the Media, Politicians, and Activists (Updated edition). Ewing, NJ: University of California Press.

Dilnot A, Blastland M, 2008, The Tiger That Isn't: Seeing Through a World of Numbers (expanded edition). London: Profile Books.

Elliott J, Marsh C, 2008, Exploring Data: An Introduction to Data Analysis for Social Scientists. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Frankfort-Nachmias C, Leon-Guererro A, 2014, Social Statistics for a Diverse Society. London: Sage.

Hand DJ, 2008, Statistics: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Huff D, 1991, How to Lie with Statistics (new edition). London: Penguin.

Rogers S, 2013, Facts are Sacred. London: Faber & Faber