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Robert Crosnoe, Chair CLA 3.306, Mailcode A1700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-6300

Spring 2009

SOC 317L • Intro to Social Statistics

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
45585 MWF
9:00 AM-10:00 AM
10:00 AM-11:00 AM
BUR 130
BUR 124
Angel, R.

Course Description

This is a beginning course in statistics. The material covered ranges from simple descriptive statistics to correlation and regression. The course is required of all Sociology majors and is restricted to Sociology majors. The course emphasizes practical understanding of statistics and the application of specific techniques to the analysis of data. We will learn basic computational techniques and also procedures for the analysis of large-scale data sets using major software packages. You will learn the assumptions underlying common statistical procedures, the types of hypotheses that can be tested by these procedures, and the inferences that can be drawn from their results. After completing this course, you will have developed a sufficient foundation from which you can begin to conduct your own analyses and critically evaluate the statistical analyses of others.

The Purpose of Graded Assignments and Exams: The graded lab work and exams are focused on two objectives. First, we want you to learn to ask appropriate questions when you deal with data and to learn what sorts of questions different types of data are able to answer. Second, we want you to become familiar with the statistical mechanics of "crunching" numbers. For this reason, you will be graded on two kinds of assessments: Exams that you will take in lab and give you time to demonstrate your understanding of data analysis, and graded lab and homework that will test your ability to apply the statistical techniques we learn. Part of our objective is to teach you to present the results of your analyses clearly in writing.

Classroom Expectations: This course emphasizes an understanding of statistics that goes beyond memorization. This is accomplished by engaging you in guided learning activities in the classroom, purposeful group activities and regular interactions with real data. Talking, writing and thinking about statistics will help you learn it, and most students find that being in class is very valuable. We will also use class time to clarify the exam questions, share pointers on working with the datasets, and discuss strategies for making the exam process smoother and more productive for you. Your active participation and attendance are essential and will be rewarded in the final course grade.

Grading Policy

Two hourly examinations 15% each
Final examination 30%
Weekly assignments which include work to be partially completed in lab 40%

The exams will require the use of LACIL (Liberal Arts Computer Instruction Lab, Burdine 124) facilities for the analysis of large-scale data sets. You will be introduced to these early in the semester.


Just the Essentials of Elementary Statistics, (Tenth Edition) by Robert Johnson and Patricia Kuby. We will cover the entire text.


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