Course Syllabus


SOC 206



Professor:                   Yvonne Vissing, PHD

Office Hours:             By appointment

Office:                         MH335 mail, 35 Loring office

Phone:                        Phone: 978-542-6144 office

e mail:               

                                    Make sure to note on subject line Soc 206.  No attachments.


Required Text:          Anna Leon-Guerrero and Chava Frankfort-Nachmias.  Essentials of Social Statistics for a Diverse Society. Sage.     

                                     You will be given a set of power points for each chapter as well, for your  review and assistance.


Required Equipment:           You will need a calculator which can process 10 digits, standard deviations, and square-roots.  You do not need the expensive, fancy calculator.  This is not algebra, and often students find the complex calculators to actually be more confusing than helpful.  You can use the computer for major calculations!


Helpful Additional Readings:


Thomas Pavkov and Kent Pierce.Ready, Set, Go!: A Student Guide to SPSS.  Mayfield.  2000.

 Crawford, C.G.  Math Without Fear.  New Viewpoints, Vision Books, NY 1980.

 Tobias, S. Overcoming Math Anxiety.  W.W. Norton, NY 1978.



 This course is designed to teach undergraduates how and why statistics are used in the social sciences. Students need to understand the logic of statistical procedures, they need guidelines to help them decide when various procedures are appropriate, and they need to understand the assumptions and limitations of the various statistics.  The focus of this course is on the logic and purpose of statistics. 


In this course the student will:

1.         Become acquainted with the logic and basic assumptions of statistics as they are used in the social sciences.

2.         Survey the major statistical techniques used by social scientists to analyze data.

3.         Learn the nature of data, the construction of data bases       

4.         Learn the common terminology used in research published in the social sciences.

5.         Become acquainted with some of the calculating procedures indicated by statistical terminology.

6.         Learn basic techniques of describing data sets (mean, mode, median, range, standard deviation, etc)

7.         Learn basic techniques of inferential statistics and hypothesis testing (Z-tests, t-tests, chi-square, etc)

8.         Learn some techniques of multivariate data analysis, such as anova and regression.



After taking this course, the student will be able to:

1.         Read social science literature with the ability to recognize commonly used statistical methods, assess the general appropriateness of the statistical methods to the research problem; critique the use of statistical reasoning in reaching scientific conclusions, and understand the statistical outcomes of research.

2.         Identify the limitations of basic statistical methods with the ability to list the problems encountered with the use of particular statistics, suggest alternative techniques for analyzing a single data set, identify the best techniques for dealing with a particular data analysis situation, and understand that there are multiple ways of deriving meaning from a single data set.

3.         Calculate basic univariate descriptive statistics to derive a sense of the parameters of a data set and basic bivariate statistics.

4.         Calculate and interpret basic hypothesis tests.

Chapters to be read:

1. The What and Why of Statistics

2. The Organization and Graphic Presentation of Data

3. Measures of Central Tendency

4. Measures of Variability

5. The Normal Distribution

6. Sampling, Sampling Distributions, and Estimation

7. Testing Hypotheses

8. Relationships Between Two Variables: Cross-Tabulation

9. Regression and Correlation

10. Analysis of Variance



Homework:  You are to do the even numbered questions at the back of each chapter, as you have the answers to the odd numbered questions at the back of your book.  I will also give out worksheets and class assignments for you to do that should help you to learn the concepts.

Exams:  As a class, you have two choices.  One is to have a traditional midterm and final that you will take in-class at a pre-assigned date and time.  The other is to take chapter tests online. We will discuss these options and decide on the first night of class.

 If you have problems you should contact me at  We can set up an appointment to meet if you need.  My good advice to you is not to get behind.

 Salem State University is committed to non-discrimination of handicapped persons as specified in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  Students who qualify as handicapped under this section of this Act should notify the instructor at the beginning of the course so that reasonable modifications may be made when necessary.



Course Summary:

Date Details Due