Social Studies 306
Due December 16, 1997
Part A. Analysis of some variables in 746.SAV. (Graded
as part of 60% for assignments).
This assignment asks you to use the data in the 746.SAV file in
the directory Public on 'Arts\Vol2\Students' to obtain various
frequency distributions, statistics, and tables that describe
some of the responses to the Survey of Student Life. For each
variable you examine it is probably best to begin by requesting
a frequency distribution for that variable. If all that is required
in the question is the frequency distribution, then recoding is
usually not necessary. Where the means procedure is used to obtain
statistics, it may be necessary to recode the values of the variable
to meaningful values, and to eliminate the values that should
be considered missing or undefined (the 9s, 90s, 98s, 99s, etc.).
What might be the best strategy is to modify the 746.SAV file
as you proceed, saving the data file as a new file, with a different
name, in your own directory. This will allow you to save the
changes you make in the file, and it will be in this new form
in your own directory when you come back to use it later. (The
only danger in doing this is that if you recode incorrectly, some
of the values of the original variables may be lost in your file.
This is not too serious a problem because you can always go back
and obtain the original file in the Public directory).
Note: There are still be a number of errors in 746.SAV.
If you note any unusual or nonsense values when examining frequency
distributions or cross-classification tables, make a note of these
and report them to me. You could also track down the ID number
of these unusual values in the data window and report these to
1. Frequency Distributions
(a) Obtain frequency distributions for one of the sets of the new variables that are in this year's questionnaire for the first time - e.g. Q13 to Q20, Q21-Q22, Q26-Q30, Q33-Q37, Q39-Q41, Q45 and Q47. Write a short note summarizing the patterns you observe for one of these sets of variables.
(b) Obtain a frequency distribution for GPA and grades in grade
12. Then recode the values of GPA and grade twelve grades so
that the new values match the values for the midpoints of the
respective intervals that these values represent. Obtain the
frequency distribution, mean, and standard deviation for the recoded
variables. Write a short note describing the distribution of
GPA and grade 12 grades. Note: Save the recoded GPA for question
2. (b). (Optional: Use Graphs -- Histogram to obtain a
histogram of the distribution, along with the normal curve. Briefly
describe the difference between the actual and normal distribution.
To print the histograms, you will need access to the laser printer).
(c) Compute a variable showing the number of children per respondent.
Then obtain a frequency distribution, along with mean and standard
deviation, for the number of children per respondent.
2. Examining Relationships with Statistics -- Compare Means
When using this procedure, make sure that the codes for the dependent
variable are either meaningful values or are declared as missing
(a) Obtain six tables showing the distribution by (i) sex and
(ii) year of university for (i) the number of cigarettes smoked
daily, (ii) the number of annual visits to the doctor, and (iii)
the number of annual visit to the dentist. Describe the overall
results, commenting on whether the results are in the direction
(b) Examine how the GPA (which you have recoded in question 1.(b))
differs by (i) whether or not the respondent has a job this semester,
and (ii) academic experience (Q44: ACADEXP in the data file).
Write a short note describing the results.
3. Examining Relationships with Statistics -- Summarize --
Examine the relationship between (i) one of the variables in Q20
and sex, (ii) one of the variables in Q21 and sex, and (iii) one
of the variables in Q45 and ACADEXP of Q44. Explain what each
table shows. Is the latter table more or less consistent with
what you found in question 2. (b)?
Note: In order to interpret cross-classification tables,
it is helpful to have row or column percentages. These are obtained
in the Cells box of the Crosstabs procedure.
Optional: Use the result from a chi-square test to comment
on whether or not there is statistical evidence for a relationship
between the variables in the table. You can request the chi-square
test in the Statistics box of the Crosstabs procedure.
Part B. Final Report (20% of final grade).
This assignment asks you to write a paper on one section of the
Survey of Student Life.
Choose one of the following areas and analyze the data in that
section of the Survey. If there is some other combination of
questions or issues that you would prefer to analyze, that may
be all right, but check it with me first.
In addition to the specific topic area you investigate, each report
should contain a discussion of each of the following.
(a). Aim of the Survey or a section of the Survey. Each report
should include a short discussion of the background and aims of
that section of the Survey -- why the particular questions were
included, what we were attempting to find, and how the results
might be used. Attempt to state what hypotheses or expectations
you might have (from last year's Survey, class discussions, or
from other observations), and any theoretical or practical approaches
that guide your analysis.
(b) Survey methodology and shortcomings of the section you are
analyzing. Note any shortcomings in terms of problems with approach
we adopted, time, coverage, questions that seem misleading or
incomplete, questions or issues that were not included, consistency
of responses, problems with construction of questions, problems
with format, and so on.
(c) Conclusions and implications for next year's class. Summary
of major findings and what suggestions you might have for future
work in this area.
When analyzing each of these sections, you may have to use questions
from various parts of the Survey. Make the paper as readable
as possible, using numbers and tables where necessary, but not
including too many tables in the written text. Describe the patterns
in words and attach as many extra tables as you like in an appendix.
The paper need not be long but should demonstrate a through analysis
of the section you are analyzing.
Note: I hope to be able to use some of your written work as part of a final report associated with this project. If you are using a word processor to write the paper, include a copy of the paper on disk. Save the SPSS output files in your directory, and I can check them there.