Description:
This course presents a general overview of the statistical methods used in the social sciences. While it’s important that you gain an understanding of the mathematical concepts behind the statistical analyses, it is of even greater importance that you leave this course with a conceptual and rational understanding of today’s most commonly used (and useful) statistical methods.
Truth claims made with statistics are abundant and often have the quality of facts in U.S. social and political life. Unfortunately, because many people do not understand the statistics undergirding these claims, they receive less scrutiny than they deserve. It is my primary goal to ensure that students learn the basic statistical literacy they need to be smart consumers of information. Our increasing reliance on statistics to understand the social world means that statistical and analytic skills are marketable skills. In fact statistics is one of very few classes that sociology majors take that provides them with concretely marketable skills. I believe that giving undergraduates a solid understanding of statistics is a way of democratizing knowledge and its production. In teaching statistics my goals are:

To demystify statistics so that every student can be a smart consumer of quantitative information.

To teach students to think sociologically with and about quantitative information.

To provide students with a solid foundation of quantitative and computing skills that could serve
as assets in subsequent employment and academic settings.
 To demonstrate to students that learning statistics has practical applications outside of the classroom in everyday life.
Texts:
Salkind, Neil J.. 2012. Statistics for People Who (Think They) Hate Statistics: Excel 2010 Edition. 3rd Edition. SAGE Publications.
Grading and Reqirement:
I will use a noncompetitive grading scale. In other words, the grade you receive will not depend on how well others have performed in class. You can earn a maximum of 115 points in this class. Your grade will be based on your mastery of each of the required tasks in the class. The grading scale for the final course grade is as follows: 11594=A; 9093=A; 8789=B+; 8386=B; 8082B; 7779=C+; 7376=C; 7072=C; 67 69=D+; 6366=D; 6062=D; 59 & below=F.
I do not give incomplete and will not change the final grade for whatever reason. You have plenty of opportunities to do well in this class. Use them.
If you receive a final grade of B+ or higher, I will write a personal recommendation for you in the future, stating that you have significant quantitative and computing skills.CLASS & LAB ATTENDANCE 10 PTS
As will be addressed later in detail, you have two free absences you can choose. However, I’d recommend you to use them only for emergencies. More than two absences will affect your class attendance grades negatively.
COLLABORATIVE LEARNING 10 PTS
You will be assigned to a team with two or three other students. Team members should meet weekly and collaboratively learn the materials, practice how to use Excel, and prepare for the exams. At the end of the semester you will be asked to evaluate other team members on a 0 to 10 scale based on their contribution to the team.
THREE (3) EXCEL EXAMS 15 PTS (5 PTS EACH)
You will be given 3 Excel exams during the lab hours to increase your Excel proficiency. These exams should be done independently without the help from other students.
THREE (3) STATS EXAMS 65 PTS (20/20/25 PTS)
You will be given three exams (which will be cumulative). These exams will consist of multiplechoice questions as well as shortanswer question.
EXTRA CREDITS #1: PODCAST 5 PTS
You have two opportunities to earn extra credits. The first opportunity is to listen and review two Radiolab podcasts:
Numbers http://www.radiolab.org/2009/nov/30/
Stochasticity http://www.radiolab.org/2009/jun/15/
To earn the extra credits, you should listen to the two podcasts carefully and write a 1page singlespace review, which talks about what you learn from the podcasts.
EXTRA CREDITS #2: BOOK REVIEW 10 PTS
The second opportunity is to review the book Numbers rule your world: the hidden influence of probabilities and statistics on everything you do by Kaiser Fung. An electronic version of this book is available at the library, so you do not have to purchase this book or wait in line to borrow it. To earn the extra credits, you should read this book thoroughly and write a 2page singlespaced review, which includes 1) a brief summary of the book, 2) a more indepth discussion on your favorite chapter, and 3) a discussion on how you view certain things differently after reading the book.