Assignment: Variables, Measurement, and SPSS

Quantitative research consists of testing and understanding relationships between variables. Researchers construct these variables as measureable expressions of social phenomena. Modern statistics provides you with a host of resources to answer questions, but each statistical test has a set of assumptions regarding the measurement of the variables. It is therefore important to understand how variables are measured because their measurement will influence the type of analytic tools available to you.

SPSS is a statistical software program that allows you to enter these variables into a spreadsheet format and record the measurements from a sample. Additionally, SPSS allows you to perform statistical analysis. Before launching into your analyses, though, it is important to understand how the variables are measured. That understanding will help you interpret the SPSS output.

In this week’s Discussion, you considered topics with social change implications. For this Assignment, you will examine data to analyze independent and dependent variables, determine how they are measured, and decipher whether a social change question can be answered and the implications for such change.

To prepare for this Assignment:

Review the Learning Resources as well as the SPSS resources found in this week’s Learning Resources.

Review, download, and install the SPSS software on your computer using the IBM SPSS Version 23 Installation and Registration document for PC or for MAC in this week’s Learning Resources.

Using the SPSS software, open the Afrobarometer dataset or the High School Longitudinal Study dataset (whichever you choose) found in this week’s Learning Resources and then choose two variables that interest you.

For this Assignment:

Write a 1- to 2-page summary and include the following:

A description of what the each of the variables measure.

A description of the unit of analysis.

A description and explanation of the levels of measurement for each variable (i.e., nominal, ordinal, interval, ratio).

Explain how you might conceive these variables to be used to answer a social change question. What might be the implications for social change?

Support your summary using appropriate scholarly citations and references. Use proper APA format.

Learning Resources Required Readings

Frankfort-Nachmias, C., & Leon-Guerrero, A. (2015). Social statistics for a diverse society (7th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Chapter 1, “The What and the Why of Statistics” (pp. 1–26)

Wagner, W. E. (2016). Using IBM® SPSS® statistics for research methods and social science statistics (6th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Chapter 1, “Overview”

Dietz, T., & Kalof, L. (2009). Introduction to social statistics: The logic of statistical reasoning. West Sussex, United Kingdom: Wiley-Blackwell.

Introduction to Social Statistics: The Logic of Statistical Reasoning, 1st Edition by Dietz, T.; Kalof, L. Copyright 2009 by John Wiley & Sons – Books. Reprinted by permission of John Wiley & Sons – Books via the Copyright Clearance Center.

Chapter 1, “An Introduction to Quantitative Analysis” (pp. 1–31)

Dietz, T., & Kalof, L. (2009). Introduction to social statistics: The logic of statistical reasoning. West Sussex, United Kingdom: Wiley-Blackwell.

Introduction to Social Statistics: The Logic of Statistical Reasoning, 1st Edition by Dietz, T.; Kalof, L. Copyright 2009 by John Wiley & Sons – Books. Reprinted by permission of John Wiley & Sons – Books via the Copyright Clearance Center.

Chapter 2, “Some Basic Concepts” (pp. 33–63)

Introduction to Social Statistics: The Logic of Statistical Reasoning, 1st Edition by Dietz, T.; Kalof, L. Copyright 2009 by John Wiley & Sons – Books. Reprinted by permission of John Wiley & Sons – Books via the Copyright Clearance Center.

Walden University Library. (n.d.). Course Guide and Assignment Help for RSCH 8210. Retrieved from http://academicguides.waldenu.edu/rsch8210

For help with this week’s research, see this Course Guide and related weekly assignment resources.

Use the following documents to guide you as you register, download, and install your SPSS software.

Note: You will use this software throughout this course to perform various statistical calculations.

Document: IBM SPSS Version 23 Installation and Registration for PC (PDF)

Document: IBM SPSS Version 23 Installation and Registration for MAC (PDF)

Datasets

Document: Data Set Afrobarometer (dataset file)

Use this dataset to complete this week’s Assignment.

Note: You will need the SPSS software to open this dataset.

Document: High School Longitudinal Study 2009 Dataset (dataset file)

Use this dataset to complete this week’s Assignment.

Note: You will need the SPSS software to open this dataset.

Required Media

Milgram, A. (2013). Why smart statistics are the key to fighting crime [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/anne_milgram_why_smart_statistics_are_the_key_to_fighting_crime

Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 12 minutes.

In this media program, Anne Milgram discusses how smart statistics are used to fight crime. Focus on the statement “all models are wrong, but some are useful.”

Price, M. (2015). Statistician promotes social justice and human rights [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orW01w8a4zY

Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 2 minutes.

In this media program, statistician Megan Price explains how she uses statistics to advance social justice issues and protect human rights.

Laureate Education (Producer). (2016e). Introduction and demonstration of SPSS [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 4 minutes.

In this media program, Dr. Matt Jones introduces the software used for quantitative analysis, SPSS, and demonstrates its use.