Details

Required Reading
The required text for this course is:
Levin, Jack, James Alan Fox, and David R. Forde. 2014. Elementary Statistics in Social Research, Twelfth Edition. Boston: Pearson.

There are a few additional required readings indicated on the calendar and available online.

Grading

midterm exam 100
final exam 130
two in class SPSS assignments (50 points each) 100
330

Course grading follows the conventional brackets: 90’s are A’s, 80’s are B’s, etc. So for instance, to get an A, you need at least 90 percent of 330 points, or 297.

Exams
The exams will consist of some combination of stats problems to work out, and/or multiple choice questions, and/or short answer questions, and/or analysis of SPSS output, covering the text, lectures, readings, and classroom discussions.

SPSS assignments
These will be done in a computer lab on the two nights indicated. We will begin them together, then students will finish assignments on their own. Depending on the progress of the class as a whole, we may extend the due date beyond the end of class time for one or both assignments.

Make Ups
If you miss either of the SPSS assignments or an exam, you will be allowed to make it up only with a note from a doctor or a funeral home. If a make up for an SPSS assignment is allowed, it must be completed within one week of your return. Make ups for the midterm will be given at the end of the semester on final day, after you hand in your final exam.

Course Rationale/Objectives
This is an advanced course in social statistics, but also a first statistics course at the graduate level. The goal is take students to the next level beyond what they learned as undergraduates in the logic and techniques of descriptive and inferential statistics. For many students, the tools provided in this class will be adequate for their purposes moving forward. For others, this class is an important foundation on which to build. Either way, with proper effort this can be one of the most eye-opening and rewarding courses you take in graduate school. Really!

By the end of the semester, you will be stronger in a number of areas.
With respect to general research skills, you will have a stronger foundation in the quantitative side of research methodology.
With respect to multicultural knowledge, your understanding of the way data are used and abused in discussions of race and ethnicity will be improved.
With respect to critical thinking skills, you will be armed with the knowledge of various logical and methodological errors, and this will allow you to evaluate more thoroughly the assumptions and evidence on alternative sides of arguments.
With respect to theoretical knowledge, your understanding of the logic of hypothesis testing and the nature of the normal curve will improve your grasp of how society works and how sociologists make sense of it.
With respect to applications of sociology, you will recognize the practical implications of quantitative data analysis as you master the techniques yourself.

Students with Disabilities
Per the Office of Disability Services: “If you are a student with a disability who will require an accommodation(s) to participate in this course, please contact me as soon as possible. You will be asked to provide documentation from the Office of Disability Services. Failure to contact me in a timely manner may delay your accommodations.”

Electronic Devices
Departmental statement: “The Department of Sociology reserves the right to limit or deny the use of any and all electronic devices in the classroom.”  Do not secretly video the lectures and post them on YouTube. Also, students using laptops in class must sit in the front half of the occupied rows.

Department Statement about Academic Dishonesty
(and I quote:)
As members of the university community, students are expected to be aware of and abide by university policies regarding academic honesty. By the same token, members of the faculty within the university community are expected to enforce those policies. Members of the Department of Sociology operate on the assumption that each student has thoroughly reviewed the university policies regarding academic honesty and that the policies will be followed. Accordingly, members of the Department of Sociology will enforce all policies related to academic honesty.

[For specifics, see http://www.txstate.edu/effective/upps/upps-07-10-01.html, Academic Honesty, UPPS No. 07.10.01.]

The following is not a substitute for the statement of policies found in the above referenced material. Rather, it serves to call each student’s attention to the breadth and depth of academic dishonesty.

Academic dishonesty includes the following: Cheating, plagiarism, collusion and/or abuse of resource materials. Each term or phrase is defined in some detail in the above referenced material. Because the offense of plagiarism can be confusing to students, the following information is provided as essential reading by all students.

‘Plagiarism means the appropriation of another’s work and the unacknowledged incorporation of that work in one’s own written work offered for credit.’ (Texas State University Handbook, UPPS No. 07-10-01)
Examples of plagiarism include, but are not limited to:

  • downloading or buying a research paper
  • cutting and pasting information from several sources to create a paper
  • leaving out quotation marks around quoted material, placing quotation marks around some but not all copied information
  • leaving out quotation marks around copied information but adding a citation implying that the information is the student’s summary of the source
  • leaving out quotation marks for more than three consecutive words taken directly from a source
  • providing a reference/bibliography page but leaving out the reference citation in the body of the paper
  • faking a citation
  • unintentionally using words or ideas or quotes without citing them in the body of the paper and on the reference/bibliography page (http://www.virtualsalt.com/antiplag.htm)

Ignorance of what constitutes plagiarism or having plagiarized in the past without having been penalized does not excuse such acts in the Department of Sociology. Any student charged with plagiarism may appeal in writing in accordance with Texas State University policy.

The phrase, academic dishonesty, includes a variety of transgressions. It refers to acts such as cheating on a test to committing plagiarism when writing a paper. The Sociology Department assumes that it is the responsibility of each student to know what constitutes academic dishonesty. A lack of understanding of the phrase is no excuse when academic dishonesty is at issue. Similarly, a student may not be excused from a current transgression because he/she committed a similar act in the past and was not charged with a violation of university policy. Any student who is accused with academic dishonesty has the right to challenge the accusation, but the challenge must be submitted in writing and in accordance with university policy.

A complete statement on the policy of the Department of Sociology regarding academic dishonesty (including plagiarism) is available on the departmental website www.soci.txstate.edu Remember: ignorance of what constitutes academic dishonesty or having participated in academic dishonesty in the past without being penalized does not excuse such acts in the Department of Sociology.