Package for the Social Sciences)

Sociology 2206a 572 Fall 2013

Professor Donna Maynard

Worth 20% of final grade (late penalty 5% of assignment grade per day)

Due Dec.02 at 9:30am (at the beginning of class)

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Introduction:

The purpose of this assignment is to introduce you to SPSS. You will be asked to familiarize yourself with this software by performing some elementary data manipulations and statistical computations available through SPSS. This software is probably the most widely used statistical package in sociology departments across Canada, largely due to its user friendly character.

Once you become proficient with SPSS, you should not have too many difficulties in moving on to more powerful and complex statistical software. Examples include SAS (widely used outside of academia) or Stata (which allows very complex and advanced statistical procedures). There are innumerable software packages used in neighboring social sciences. For example, the equivalent to SPSS in geography is GIS (Geographic Information Systems) which is particularly useful in manipulating data for various geographic units and mapping datasets. We use these types of software because even using the simplest statistical procedures on a small dataset is at least unwieldy, and often impossible to do using a hand calculator, or even a simple spreadsheet.

Here you will be working with one very large dataset produced by Statistics Canada, and one very small dataset created by Dr. Don Kerr. The large dataset is the first cycle of the National

Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (1994). The small dataset is made up of questionnaires that Dr. Kerr has collected from stats and methods students in previous years here at King’s. The large set has a complex, multi-stage probability sample. The small set is technically a convenience sample, but for the purposes of this assignment, we will be treating it as though it is based on an appropriate probability sampling strategy.

There are several Parts (1A, 1B, 2, 3A, 3B, 3C) to this assignment. For each part, you will be handing in a syntax file, an output file and a brief write-up. Please hand in all syntax together, all outputs together, and your write-up all together (probably a few double spaced pages all together). In other words you will be handing in 3 separate piles of paper with a cover page for each (syntax, output, write-up).

It is strongly recommended that you begin the actual computing portion of this assignment in very short order – learning new software and new techniques can be very time consuming, and technical problems can be unpredictable and frustrating … technical problems are not an acceptable excuse for a late assignment!

While I have included very detailed instructions here on how to use various features of SPSS, you will want to read ahead in your text. Chapter 12 includes discussion on how to use SPSS as well. If there are any contradictions between my instructions and what it says in the text, go with

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what I say. Further, unless you have already taken your 2205 class, it will not be possible for you to complete the write-up portion of this assignment without the information contained in Chapter

12 on some of the basic descriptive measures that can be used in SPSS (such as frequency distributions, means, contingency tables/crosstabs etc.).

How to access SPSS:

There are two ways that you can access the software you need to do this assignment. You can go to the student computing lab, or you can use remote access from your home computer. Each has plusses and minuses.

Using the student computing lab:

Nearly all of the computers in the lab have SPSS installed on them, and you can print there as well (for a price). This is also where you can find the SPSS consultant (see ‘where to get help’

below),