Sociology 504: Social Statistics
Lecture: Tuesday and Thursday: 10:00am - 11:30am (Location: Wallace 165)
Lab: Thursday: 11:30am - 1:00pm (Location: Stokes Library Computer Lab)
Instructor: Matthew Salganik
Preceptor: Dennis Feehan
This course provides an introduction to social statistics.
There will be weekly problem sets given out each Tuesday and due the following Tuesday. Many of the problem sets will involve the statistical package R. I know that the choice of R will lead to difficulties in the beginning of the semester, but there will be big payoffs later as you become more familiar with it. Regarding R, we will start slowly and assume that you do not have any programming experience. In addition to problem sets, students will be expected to complete a final project of some sort. These final projects will be due Tuesday, May 12th (Dean's Day); no extensions will be given.
There required texts are:
We will also read chapters from the following books, but these will be available on Blackboard:
Below are the readings assignments for each week. You should come to class having looked at this material and you should read it roughly in the order listed. I will distinguish the Fox books by calling them Fox and Fox (R book).
Week 1: Introduction and mathematical background
- Fox, Chapter 1.
- Lynch, Introduction to Applied Bayesian Statistics and Estimation for Social Scientists: Chapter 1 and 2. [Available on Blackboard]
Week 1 Lab: Introduction to R
Week 2: Visualizing data
- Tufte, Visual Explanations, Chapter 2. [Available from Blackboard].
- Gelman, A., Pasarica, C., and Dodhia, R. (2002). "Let's Practice What We Preach: Turning Tables into Graphs." The American Statistician 56(2):121-130.
- Kastellec, J.P. and Leoni, E.L. (2007). "Using Graphs Instead of Tables in Political Science." Perspectives on Politics 5(4):755-771. [see also the code repository]
- Fox, Chapter 3.
Week 2 Lab: Visualizing data
Week 3: Intuition of regression and transforming data
- Fox, Chapter 2.
- Berk, Chapter 2. [Available from Blackboard]
- Fox, Chapter 4.
Week 3 Lab: Intuition of regression and transforming data
- Fox (R book), Chapter 3.4.
Week 4: Regression and multivariate regression
Week 4 Lab:
Fox (R book), Chapter 4.1.
Week 5: Statistical inference for regression
Week 5 Lab:
Week 6: Introduction to causal inference
- Taubes, G. (2007). "Do we really know what makes us healthy?" New York Times Magazine.
- Freedman, D. (1991). "Statistical Models and Shoe Leather." Sociological Methodology 21:291-313.
- Rosenbaum, P. (2002). Observational Studies, Chapter 1. [Available from Blackboard]
- Salsburg, D. (2001). The Lady Tasting Tea, Chapter 18: Does Smoking Cause Cancer? [Available from Blackboard]
- Cornfield, J. et al. (1959). "Smoking and lung cancer: Recent evidence and a discussion of some questions." Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 22(1):173-203. [Available from Blackboard]
- Morgan S.L. and Winship, C. (2007). Counterfactuals and Causal Inference. Chapters 1 and 2. [Available from Blackboard]
- Card, D. and Krueger, A. B. (1994). "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Case Study of the Fast-Food Industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania." The American Economic Review, 84(4):772-793.
- Neumark, D. and Wascher, W. (2000). "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Case Study of the Fast-Food Industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania: Comment." The American Economic Review, 90(5):1362-1396. [SKIM]
- Card, D. and Krueger, A. B. (2000). "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Case Study of the Fast-Food Industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania: Reply." The American Economic Review, 90(5):1397-1420. [SKIM]
- Harding. D. (2003). "Counterfactual Models of Neighborhood Effects: The Effect of Neighborhood Poverty on Dropping Out and Teenage Pregnancy." American Journal of Sociology 109(3): 676-719.
- Angrist, J. D., Imbens, G. W., and Rubin, D. B. (1996). "Identification of Causal Effects using Instrumental Variables." Journal of the American Statistical Association, 91(434):44-455.
Week 6 Lab:
Week 7: Dummy variable regression and interactions
Week 7 Lab:
Week 8: ANOVA
Week 8 Lab:
Week 9: Statistical theory for linear models
Week 9 Lab:
Week 10: Regression diagnostics
- Fox, Chapter 11, 12, and 13.
- McPhereson, M., Smith-Lovin, L., and Brashears, M. (2006). "Social Isolation in America: Changes in Core Discussion Networks over Two Decacdes." American Sociological Review 71:353-375.
- Fountain, H. (2006). "The Lonely American Just Got a Bit Lonelier." The New York Times, July 2.
- Vedantam, S. (2006). Social Isolation Growing in U.S., Study Says The Washington Post, June 23.
- Fischer, C. (2008). "The 2004 GSS Finding of Shrunken Social Networks: An Artifact." Working paper. [Available from Blackboard]
Week 10 Lab:
Week 11: Logit, probit, and generalized linear models
Week 11 Lab:
Week 12: Review, criticisms, and other approaches
- Fox, Chapter 1.
- Raftery, A.E. (2001). "Statistics in Sociology, 1950-2000: A Selective Review." Sociological Methodology 31:1-45.
- Manksi, C. (1993). "Identification Problems in the Social Sciences." Sociological Methodology, 23:1-56.
- Leamer, E. (1983). "Let's Take the Con Out of Econometrics." American Economic Review 73(1):31-43.
- Young, C. (2009). "Model Uncertainty in Sociological Research: An Application to Religion and Economic Growth." American Sociological Review, forthcoming. [Available from Blackboard]
- Berk, Chapter 11 (What to do). [Available from Blackboard]
- Rosenbaum, Chapters 11 and 12. [Available on Blackboard]
Week 12 Lab: Project presentations
- Heath, C. and Heath D. (2008). Made to Stick, Chapter 1. [Available from Blackboard]
- Heath, C. and Heath D. (2008). Presentations That Stick. [Available from Blackboard]