91299 - Quantitative Methods For The Social Science

Course Unit Page

SDGs

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The course deals with topics concerning the methodology of socio-political empirical research and addresses statistical data analysis techniques. Students who have completed this course will be able to: a) examine the pros and cons of the main data collection designs; b) explore quantitative data and interpret empirical results; c) analyze quantitative datasets resorting to statistical software; d) define a research problem, formulate research questions, collect data, test research hypotheses empirically, draw conclusions, and communicate research results.

Course contents

The course is dedicated to students who have never studied topics concerning key concepts underlying social research method and techniques, neither theoretically nor empirically.

The course aims to retrace the debate around social science method and offers knowledge about the most common data collection and analysis strategies in the field of socio-political empirical research. Lessons will address the following topics: logic of social research; standard and non-standard approaches to social research; operationalization and operational definitions; concepts and indicators; questionnaires; types of property and types of variables; displaying social research results; basic (descriptive) statistical analysis; monovariate and bivariate analysis.

Readings/Bibliography

Regularly attending students

Corbetta P., Social Research. Theory, Methods and Techniques, London, Sage, 2003 (chapters: 1, 3, 5, 6, 10).

Bohrnstedt G.W. and Knoke D., Statistics for Social Data Analysis, Peacock Publishers, 1982 (chapters: 2, 3, 4 (except par. 4.5.1 and 4.6), 7 (except 7.10 and 7.11), 8 (except 8.4.3-8.9).

Lawrence Neumann W., Social Research Methods: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches, Edinburgh, Pearson New International Edition, only paragraph “Scale” in chapter 7, pp. 230-241.

Non-attending students

Corbetta P., Social Research. Theory, Methods and Techniques, London, Sage, 2003 (chapters: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11).

Bohrnstedt G.W. and Knoke D., Statistics for Social Data Analysis, Peacock Publishers, 1982 (chapters: 2, 3, 4 (except par. 4.5.1 and 4.6), 7 (except 7.10 and 7.11), 8 (except 8.4.3-8.9).

Lawrence Neumann W., Social Research Methods: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches, Edinburgh, Pearson New International Edition, only paragraph “Scale” in chapter 7, pp. 230-241.

Teaching methods

Face-to-face lessons (20 lessons, 40 hours) and – only for regularly attending students – computer-based lessons (7 lessons, 20 hours). Computer-based lessons are not compulsory, but regularly attending students are highly encouraged to attend the lab course.

Computer-based lessons will be given starting from the beginning of November 2021. Computer-based lessons will be given twice a week only the first week (2-hour lesson + 3-hour lesson). All the following lessons will last 3 hours and will be given once a week. In order to facilitate learning and interaction, students attending computer-based lessons will work in relatively small groups in a computer lab.

During face-to-face lessons, students will acquire theoretical knowledge as regards data analysis, whereas in computer-based lessons students will acquire a practical knowledge as regards data mining and will be required to produce and discuss a report based on socio-political phenomena. More precisely, resorting to the use of the statistical software called “STATA”, students will empirically learn how to organize and analyse data and draft reports. Students have the opportunity to download STATA freely on their pc and practice STATA at home too The link to download STATA is https://svc.unibo.it/dipartimenti/SPS/software/default.aspx  (please, follow the instructions). 

 

Assessment methods

The exam mode varies according to whether students attend and participate in lectures (or not). Attendance and participation status have implications for the exam mode and, partially, texts to be studied.

Regularly attending students

Students who intend to take the exam as regularly attending students are required to participate in lectures.

Students will be classified as “regularly attending students” if the number of skipped lessons is not greater than 5. Attendance will be checked after 4 lessons and students who want to be classified as “regularly attending students” have to fill in the following form by October 4, 2021

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeBEVEax8RLIul33wkqynDBAkpnvpW5mHTEn377fGR0KO97zw/viewform?usp=pp_url

Participation will be regularly checked starting from October 5, 2021.

Exam for attending students

Regularly attending students will take the final exam at the end of this course: December 16, 2021.

The final grade is given by active participation in the "standard" lessons of this course and the grade achieved in the final exam.

The final exam will be given on December 16 for regularly attending students only. The exam consists in the statistical analysis of a predefined dataset and 3 open questions on the theoretical part (chapters assigned with reference to Corbetta’s and Neumann’s books). In addition to answering 3 open questions, regularly attending students have to perform monovariate and bivariate analyses with STATA. Students will be required to perform specific tasks, such as: description of the main socio-demographic variables, computation and discussion of the most appropriate measures of central tendency and variability; computation of additive indexes; analysis of the relationship between two variables; computation and discussion of the most appropriate indexes/measures.

The exam will be taken on students’ personal computer. Therefore, regularly attending students are required to have a laptop and need to download and install STATA 17. A free version of STATA is available here: https://svc.unibo.it/dipartimenti/SPS/software/default.aspx (please, follow the instructions).

Regularly attending students are encouraged to attend 7 computer-based lessons. In computer-based lessons, students will have the opportunity to practice their skills in analysing data via STATA. These lessons are obviously useful to pass the exam successfully.

Computer-based lessons will be given on the following dates:

GROUP A:

  • November 2, 9-11 a.m. - lab Mizzau Palazzo Hercolani
  • November 9, 9 a.m.-12 noon - lab Mizzau Palazzo Hercolani
  • November 16, 9 a.m.-12 noon - lab Mizzau Palazzo Hercolani
  • November 23, 9 a.m.-12 noon - lab Mizzau Palazzo Hercolani
  • November 30, 9 a.m.-12 noon - lab Mizzau Palazzo Hercolani
  • December 7, 9 a.m.-12 noon - lab Mizzau Palazzo Hercolani
  • December 16, 9 a.m.-12 noon: EXAM - room 2 Palazzo Hercolani

GROUP B:

  • November 3, 9-11 a.m. - lab Mizzau Palazzo Hercolani
  • November 10, 8-11 a.m. - lab Mizzau Palazzo Hercolani
  • November 17, 8-11 a.m. - lab Mizzau Palazzo Hercolani
  • November 24, 8-11 a.m. - lab Mizzau Palazzo Hercolani
  • December 1, 8-11 a.m. - lab Mizzau Palazzo Hercolani
  • December 9, 8-11 a.m. - lab Mizzau Palazzo Hercolani
  • December 16, 9 a.m.-12 noon: EXAM - room 2 Palazzo Hercolani

If regularly attending students do not pass this exam or reject the final grade, they can take the exam as non-attending students in any regular session starting from January 2022.

Non-attending students

The exam is administered in exclusively written form and consists in closed-ended and open-ended questions. The exam will last 1 hour.

To take the exam, students have to sign up on Almaesami.

Non-attending students are not required to use STATA.

For all students

The only valid mark is the one achieved in the most recent attempt to pass the exam.

Candidates who pass the exam can refuse the final mark (thus requesting to re-take the exam) only once, in accordance with the university’s teaching regulations.

After having rejected a passing mark, any other subsequent passing mark will be recorded definitively in candidates’ transcripts.

Each student is personally responsible for his/her registration in the exam session on AlmaEsami. Registration closes 5 days before the exam. Therefore, it is not possible to sign up for the exam in the previous 5 days before the exam.

Students who change their minds must withdraw their registration no later than the 5 days before the exam. Withdrawal from the exam permits the student to participate in the following exam session and avoid a penalization of 3 points applied to the final score achieved in the exam.

Withdrawal during the last 5 days before the exam is possible in case of unexpected events only (i.e. sickness, bereavement or similar). In this case, students must send (using his/her official account @studio.unibo.it) an e-mail to d.mantovani@unibo.it [mailto:d.mantovani@unibo.it] and must provide a justification. If this procedure is not followed, a penalization of 3 points will be applied to the final score achieved in the exam.

Office hours

See the website of Debora Mantovani