ERIC Number: ED203830
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-May
Reference Count: 0
Introductory Sociology with SPSS and the General Social Survey.
Ellison, David L.
An alternative sociology course is described that links student computer skills with available social survey data. The students, at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, have primarily technical and scientific interests, and the goal of the sociology courses offered is to promote awareness of the social world they will live and work in. Students are given access to a file of Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) programs that they can easily modify to suit their own purposes. Using data from the General Social Survey stored in the computer, they can test hypotheses on current data reflecting their interests. Students write short papers on their projects. In one semester the average student used about $59 worth of computer time. It was found that while students complained of the heavy workload, they also found working with real data very interesting, and no student had difficulty with the computer work, which was simplified for the purposes of the course. It is felt that helping students in such a technological setting realize that sociological data can be useful for making decisions and solving problems is valuable. Appended to the report are: descriptive materials about the General Social Survey and its coverage, a listing of SPSS programs, procedures for using the General Social Survey, class exercises, and a copy of the survey form. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Science Foundation, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: General Social Survey; Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute NY; Statistical Package for the Social Sciences