30 terms

# Social Statistics: Chapter 1

"Fundamentals of Statistics"
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Statistics:
A set of procedures used by social scientists to organize, summarize, and communicate information.
Data:
Information represented by numbers, which can be the subject of statistical analysis.
Research Process:
a set of activities in which social scientists engage to answer questions, examine ideas, or test theories.
Empirical Research:
based on evidence that can be verified by using our direct experiences.
Theory:
an explanation of the relationship between two or more observable attributes of individual or groups.
Hypothesis:
a tentative answer to a research problem.
Variables
are the building blocks to a hypothesis.
Exhaustiveness:
means that there should be enough categories composing the variables to classify every observation.
Mutual exclusiveness
refers to the need to classify every observation into one and only one category.
A unit of analysis is...
the level of social life on which social scientists focus.
Dependent:
The variable to be explained (the "effect").
Independent:
The variable expected to account for (the "cause" of) the dependent variable.
Cause and effect relationships between variables...
are not easy to infer in the social sciences.
Causal relationships must meet three conditions:
1. The cause has to precede the effect in time.
2. There has to be an empirical relationship between the cause and effect.
3. This relationship cannot be explained by other factors.
The dependent variable...
is always the property you are trying to explain; it is always the object of the research.
The independent variable...
usually occurs earlier in time than the dependent variable.
Nominal level of measurement:
numbers or other symbols are assigned to a set of categories for the purpose of naming, labeling, or classifying the observations.
Nominal
There is no quantitative difference between the variables.
Ordinal level of measurement:
ranks the categories from high to low.
Ordinal
We know that one category is higher and another is lower, but we do not know by how much.
Interval- ratio level of measurement:
is used when the categories are rank ordered and we can measure the difference between each category.
Interval-ratio
*There is a natural zero in interval-ratio level.
Variables that can be measured at the interval-ratio level of measurement...
can also be measured at the ordinal and nominal levels.
Properties that can be measured at a higher level (interval-ratio is the highest)...
can also be measured at lower levels, but not vice versa.
Discrete variables have...
a minimum sized unit of measurement, which cannot be subdivided.
Continuous variables...
do not have a minimum sized unit of measurement; their range of values can be subdivided into increasingly smaller fractional values.
Population:
The total set of individuals, objects, groups, or events in which the researcher is interested.
Sample:
A relatively small subset selected from a population.
Descriptive statistics:
Procedures that help us organize and describe data collected from either a sample or a population.
Inferential statistics:
The logic and procedures concerned with making predictions or inferences about a population from observations and analyses of a sample.