Exploring Social Statistics with SPSS
Welcome to the lab section of SOC 3112. This Online manual serves three purposes. The first is to introduce you to a statistical analysis program called SPSS. The second is to give you the opportunity to apply the concepts you learned in class to real-world data. The third and final objective is to guide you through a semester-long research project in which you use the knowledge gained in class and the skills learned in the lab to produce a shorter version the sort of paper that could be published in an academic journal.
Simply put, we live in a data-driven world, a world where data analysis plays an increasingly large role in the minutiae of everyday life. Your grocery store, for example, uses your past consumption habits to predict future purchases, often offering coupons for those items as a way of making sure that you remain a loyal customer (Have you heard about the time Target's coupon algorithm figured out that a teenage girl was pregnant even before her parents did? True story). Similarly, Netflix uses powerful algorithms to determine what movies and TV shows you might like to watch, though the fact that it continues to recommend that I watch "Toddlers and Tiaras" suggests they may still have a few kinks to iron out. Anyhow, the point I'm trying to make is that data analysis is big business, which means that big businesses need data analysts. In my humble opinion, there are few things that social science majors can do to make themselves attractive to potential employers that are more effective than learning how to crunch numbers. Try to keep that in mind as you slog your way through the various exercises found within this Online manual. Should you have any difficulties, please don't hesitate to approach your instructor or the course TA.