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One of the most crucial components of this course is developing a research project from conceptualizing a research problem and develop a number of complementary design, measurement, and data collection approaches to bring evidence to bear on the problem.  We are going to create a research study based on previous research you choose to use.  We will then determine which variables we can use from the General Social Survey (GSS) which are representative of our interests and satisfy our research question and hypotheses.  Not to worry, there are over 5,000 variables within this dataset to choose from.


This paper will enable us to complete the following objectives:

  1. Describe and apply the concepts and logic of elementary statistics.
  2. Conduct statistical analysis in SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences).
  3. Compare and contrast different types of data and the statistics that can be used to analyze them
  4. Examine the differences between descriptive and inferential statistics and their use in the social sciences.
  5. Form critical interpretations of quantitative research literature in sociology and other social sciences.
  6. Complete and interpret descriptive and inferential statistical data analysis
  7. Critically evaluate the quality of research design and evidence in published social research.




This paper and the accompanying presentation are a compilation of the assignments and activities that you will complete for your weekly Forum posts.  Each week you will have an activity to complete.  You will post your work and engage with your instructor and classmates throughout the week to determine the “perfect” version of your work.  In other words, you are expected to revise anything prior to placing it you’re your ‘Final Portfolio Project’ file. 

You will create a designated word file to act as a repository of assignments.  Each week you will copy and paste your work for the discussion board (not including your responses to classmates) into this file and format-as-you-go to become a cohesive paper.  You are encouraged to use subheaders for each section. Construct a paper that fully explores each of the following areas:

Each section should have information for context which provides your reader with the background necessary to understand what you are presenting.  What I mean by this is that you will want to ‘present’ the topic of hypothesis testing while citing resources like Babbie (your textbook) and other resources located in the class.  You may than present your outline of this testing as it relates to your variables.  Without context, the reader may be lost.  Your professor is looking to see whether you understand what you are writing about, not simply going through the motions.

The project will be presented to the Professor as a professionally written paper approximately 5-7 pages in length, not including the title page or references section.  In addition, this project will be presented to the class in the Week 8 Forum as a multimedia presentation using either Power Point with narration,  Screencast-o-matic, or  Prezi.  Other programs need to be submitted to the instructor for review.


The following table is an outline of each task that you will complete on the discussion forums.


Project Outline




  • Choose a topic based on previous paper, assignment, or research
  • Post topic to the DB


  • Create frequency tables, including descriptive statistics data, and histograms.  Provide a brief explanation of your findings.


  • Find correlation data for your variables
  • Create and explain crosstabs for your variables
  • Identify a research question and develop your hypotheses (research and null).  Also include if this is a directional or non-directional hypothesis
  • Clearly identify your variables (independent v. dependent, levels of measurement, if they are discrete or continuous, etc.)


  • Present research articles which utilize quantitative data
  • Write your literature review

* For the DF you will need to focus on critiquing the statistical process of these articles, BUT for your final portfolio project you will need to provide a literature review based on these articles.  In other words, you will need to provide more of a comprehensive overview (as you would in a research paper) of these articles for the final version.


  • Chi-square test
  • Determine your test statistic (see table for more details)


  • t Test
  • Determine your ideal test statistic 
  • Perform the ANOVA test.  You will need to choose an appropriate variable where many groups can be considered (religious background, political affiliation, level of education, SES, or income for example).  Remember to recode certain variables (income for example) to make reasonable categories. 


  • Proofread the file and work on “tightening things up”
  • Do not forget to include your conceptual framework (based on a theory within your field of interest), literature review, research question and hypotheses


  • Submit your presentation to the Forum


* You will want to provide a brief introduction to the sections above in your final paper.  For example, you may find that defining the concept or topic is a valid way for you to provide context for the reader.  You will cite these definitions as you include them.  This style of writing is expected and demonstrates your level of understanding and confidence using the material from class.

** Remember to revise as needed based on feedback you receive from your instructor and fellow classmates.



You will also include the following:

Citing your research, identify a conceptual framework which sets the stage for your research.  Conceptual frameworks are particularly useful as organizing devices in empirical research.  Likewise, conceptual frameworks are abstract representations, connected to the research project's goal that direct the collection and analysis of data.  You will want to provide a theory as well.  Perhaps you want to use one that is in your literature. 

Include a short overview (no more than 3-5 sentences) on your instrument- the General Social Survey.  Provide the questions verbatim that were asked in the survey which became the variable which you chose to use.  You will also need to include the answer choices for each of them.  This portion can be a table if you choose.

Don’t forget to include proper APA-style citation and reference. However, you do not need to include an abstract or table of contents.  You can find guidance in APA by  clicking here to access the Purdue Online Writing Lab.


The paper should be typed, double-spaced, 1” margins, Arial or Times New Roman 11 pt font,

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