Social Statics


For this assignment you will analyze the relationship between two variables.  For your independent variable you must use DEGREE (variable 171), which measures the degree attained by the respondent (less than High School, High School, BA etc.).  The dependent variable can be of your choosing.  You will construct a percentage cross tabulation table, conduct a test of statistical significance and measure the association between the two variables in addition to providing a frequency table and descriptive statistics for both variables independently, all described in detail below.    For this assignment you will use the “General Social Survey Data 2016” data set, which is available on Black Board under the left menu labeled GSS Data.  You must conduct the analysis on a computer that has the SPSS software or access the school’s computers remotely.  Use the instructions included under the Course Orientation menu to learn how to access the software remotely.  Contact the campus computer technicians if you have trouble with this. The paper must be submitted as a Word document via Turn-It-In on BlackBoard under the Paper Assignment menu (under “Submit Writing Assignment 2 here”).     Instructions and Write Up   Getting Started In order to determine the effect of your independent variable (degree), you should identify a variable that interests you and which you believe may vary based on one’s level of educational attainment.  Your hypothesis should be one in which you predict that there WILL be a difference among people of different educational levels.  DO NOT choose a variable for which you think there will be no difference among people based on their education level. You are trying to explain something about how people behave or think, so select a variable on the basis of how you think one’s educational attainment influences them.      The variable you choose must be of the nominal or ordinal level of measure.  DO NOT choose a numeric variable since we do not yet have the tools to analyze that kind of data effectively.  Only if the numeric values are collapsed into relatively few can you use this kind of variable. Your variable should have between 2-7 values.  You can select your dependent variable by first browsing the variables in the GSS data set looking for one that you think is of relevance to people’s educational attainment.    To open that data set, go to the GSS Data menu on the left column of our BlackBoard page.  If you are not on a campus computer, you must access the campus computer system remotely and then enter BlackBoard from there.  Click on the GSS data set to open it.  If you are properly connected or in a campus computer lab, it will automatically open in SPSS.  You can see the list of variables included in the data set by clicking on the “Variable View” tab at the lower left side of the screen.  The “Label” column gives a short description of each variable.  Choose an appropriate one to serve as your dependent variable.  You should also access the wording of the actual survey question by going to the link in the GSS Data folder labeled “Code Names for GSS Variables” and looking up the specifics for your variable.  You can do a Keyword search using the search box in the upper left of that page.   Introduction All research papers should begin with an introduction in which you explain why the subject you are investigating is important.  Avoid phrases like, “I chose to write my paper about…” or “For this assignment…”  Write as if you are writing for publication in a scholarly journal.  Keep in mind that the thing you are trying to explain is the dependent variable.  Describe why this dependent variable is an important or interesting issue and then explain why you think that we can develop more understanding by examining it in association with one’s education level.  Try to make connections between the specific variable you are examining and larger issues of social importance or interest.   Hypothesis and “Theory” You should next offer a hypothesis regarding the relationship between the variables you are examining.  How might people differ in regard to the issue of interest based upon their education level?  State clearly how you think one variable relates to the other.  For example, “Those who are more educated are more likely…X while those who are less educated are more likely …Y”     Along with the hypothesis explain why you are making that prediction.  The basis of this prediction can draw upon existing knowledge and your “theory” about why such a relationship would exist.  In a full research paper the “existing knowledge” would come from a thorough review of the research literature on this subject and you would likely draw upon existing sociological theory to explain the basis for the predicted relationship.  For this practice research assignment you are allowed to draw upon personal knowledge and to make up your own reasoned explanation for why you offer this hypothesis.  You are not required to reference existing sociological theory, but you are encouraged to if it seems relevant.  But otherwise, you are free to offer your own “story” as to how the variables relate.  However, in doing so, offer a sociological explanation.  Do not rely on biological or psychological explanations.   Data Set Next identify the data set with which you are working (the General Social Survey) and describe the method used to compile the data and the general characteristics of the data set (who was surveyed, how many people, how were they selected etc.).  Information on the GSS can be found by exploring around the GSS main web site or from other credible sites on the internet.  DO NOT extract the exact wording from any of these sources unless you use quotation marks and add a proper citation.  A reference list is not required for this assignment, but you should adhere to all other rules prohibiting plagiarism.  You should also describe the specific variable you are using including the survey questions that were asked.   Descriptive Statistics: Frequency Distribution Table and Central Tendencies Next, provide descriptive statistics for each of the two variables you are examining individually.  Your description should include a frequency distribution table and a report on the appropriate central tendencies for each of the two variables separately.   In order to create a frequency distribution table, once you have the data set opened in SPSS, go to ANALYZE, then DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS then FREQUENCIES.  If you place the cursor over the variable list and right click, you can then alphabetize the list by variable name or label to more easily locate the variable you want. In the window that opens, select your desired variable by clicking it and dragging it over to the “frequencies” side of the window. Next click on the “statistics” button and select the appropriate measures of central tendency (recall that depending on the level of measure of your variable, not all measures of central tendency may be appropriate).  Then click “continue” then “OK”.  This will generate the frequency distribution table and a central tendencies table in the Output Window.  These should be cut and pasted into your paper.  You should do this for both of your variables individually. NOTE if the table is too large and extends off the Word document page, select the table in your document, right click and select “autofit” then “autofit to window”.    Cross Tabulation, Statistical Significance and Association Next you will examine the relationship between your chosen variables by use of a cross tabulation table.  Under ANALYZE, DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS, select CROSSTABS.  Click and drag your independent variable into the columns window. Select your dependent variable and insert it in the rows window.  Click on CELLS and select the “columns” option under percentages.  While still in the cross tab window, click on “statistics”.  Click on the box for the Chi Square test and on lambda (Goodman and Kruskal tau will appear automatically and can be used if lambda is not sufficient to identify the strength of the relationship). Next click “continue” then “OK”.  This will generate the cross tab table and the other statistical tables on your output window.  This should be cut and pasted into your paper.     Findings Next describe your findings.  Is there evidence for the relationship that you hypothesized?  Cite some numbers or patterns found in your table to describe the relationship between these variables, always relating it back to your original hypothesis.  Also report on whether the relationship between the two variables is statistically significant based on the Chi Square test.  Explain what the level of statistical significance represents.  Ordinarily you would not even consider the measure of association if you do not find that the relationship is statistically significant.  HOWEVER, for this practice assignment, report and explain the meaning of the appropriate measure of association even if you find that the relationship is not statistically significant.    Conclusion Finally, add a concluding paragraph in which you summarize the study and your findings and suggest questions for further research related to this issue.    Format The write up should be double spaced with standard fonts (12 point) and margins (1 inch) and numbered pages.  It is expected that your paper will be roughly 6-7 pages with tables.  Late papers will be downgraded 1/3 of a letter grade for each day it is late.   Grading You will be graded on your presentation and interpretation of the relevant statistics as well as on writing quality (clarity, organization, grammar, spelling etc.).  Being able to conduct statistical analysis and interpret results is important, but the clear presentation and description of findings is equally important.

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