Social statistics and Population Dynamics

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course is structured around two integrated parts: social statistics and population trends.
The goal of social statistics is to illustrate the basic concepts and data analysis techniques used in social research: the first part concentrates on the descriptive part of statistics and the graphical methods of describing data, while the second concentrates on probability and statistical inference. Social statistics has a "practical" slant focused on aspects of applying statistics to social research.
The goal of population trends is to analyse the medium- and long-term demographic processes which give an understanding of current situations and the main issues/challenges that they raise in developed and developing countries. With the support of the statistical tools acquired in the first part and the introduction of the theoretical and analytical tools needed to understand and interpret population trends, this second part of the course will illustrate the causes and consequences of the demographical transformations underway as well as the relations between population and socio-economic trends from a national and international point of view.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the lessons, the students should possess:
General skills (social statistics).
- Knowledge and understanding of basic statistics for the comprehension and appropriate use of the main statistical methods needed to acquire, organize and process data from different sources and interpret the summary information obtained.
- Ability to apply knowledge and understanding of the main basic statistical methods to: 1) interpret the results of univariate and bivariate statistical analyses on social and demographic phenomena; 2) perform quantitative analysis of secondary data using specific software (SPSS).
General skills (population trends).
- Knowledge and understanding of the timescales and characteristics of demographic trends.
- Ability to apply knowledge and understanding and interpret the main demographic transformations and interdependence with the socio-economic system within a wider historical, geographical and theoretical scenario.
Specific skills (social statistics).
-These skills concern theoretical and applicational aspects of statistics in social research: ability to deal with data from statistical sources by making suitable transformations; ability to represent and describe the variable frequency distributions; ability to describe the form, strength and direction of the relationship between two variables; ability to use sample data to estimate population parameters.
Specific skills (population trends).
-These skills are: ability to read, interpret and sum up statistical information with demographic contents; knowledge of the sources of demographical data and ability to build the main population trend and structure indicators
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First trimester
More specific information on the delivery modes of training activities for academic year 2021/2022 will be provided over the coming months, based on the evolution of the public health situation.
Course syllabus
For social statistics:
Data collection
Univariate analysis
The logic of descriptive and inferential statistics
Basic probability concepts and hypothesis testing
Bivariate analysis: cross-tabulation
Bivariate analysis: ANOVA
Bivariate analysis: simple linear regression

Population dynamics covers the following topics:
Elements of demographic analysis
Demographic transition
Transitions to adulthood and family structures
Fertility, mortality, migration
Demography and wellbeing
Prerequisites for admission
To successfully follow the course it is sufficient to have the basic mathematical knowledge normally taught in upper secondary school. No prior knowledge of statistics is required.
Teaching methods
The course includes both lectures and lab sessions. All materials and updates will be published on the website of the course in Ariel.
Attendees, will also have a series of exercises sessions on SPSS. Information on the SPSS exercises will be communicated at the beginning of the course.
Teaching Resources
For social statistics:
Corbetta, P., Gasperoni, G., & Pisati, M. (2001). Statistica per la ricerca sociale. Il Mulino.
Chapters: 1, 2 (with exception of paragraphs 6 and 7), 3 (with exception of paragraphs 4 and 5), 4, 5, 6 (with exception of paragraphs 4 and 5).
Agresti, A., Finlay B., (2015). Metodi Statistici di base e avanzati per le scienze sociali. Pearson.
Chapters: 4, 5, 6, 12

For population dynamics:
Rosina, A. and De Rose, A. (2017). Demografia. Egea. Milano.
Additional online resources of the book at
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam will take place in written form. It includes both multiple-choice questions and open-ended questions.

For attendees, the exam consists of three parts: an intermediate test, a final test and a short oral presentation. The intermediate test (on the first part of the program) and the final tests (on the second part of the program) consist each of 15 multiple choice questions and 1 open-ended question. The open-ended questions require a short comment on data presented in the form of contingency tables and/or parameters of a simple linear regression model.

The third part of the exam is dedicated to a short oral discussion of exercises carried out during the exercise sessions with the SPSS software and sent to the teacher within the last lesson of the course. This test gives the right to a bonus on the final grade between 0 and 2 points.
The final grade is the average of the intermediate and final tests to which a bonus up to 2 assessment points is added for the oral presentation on SPSS exercises.
The intermediate test must be sufficient in order to give the final test.
If the second test is not passed it can be taken again during the first exam session in December 2020.
Attendees who do not manage to pass the exam by December 2020 exam session, will take a comprehensive final exam on all the material assigned in the textbooks as non-attending students.
Attending students are required to attend at least 80% of the lessons.

Non-attendees will take a comprehensive final exam (60 minutes) on all the material assigned in the textbooks. The exam consists of 30 multiple choice questions (24 out of 30 points) and 2 open-ended questions (6 out of 30 points), that require a short comment on data presented in the form of contingency tables and/or parameters of a simple linear regression model.
SECS-S/04 - DEMOGRAPHY - University credits: 3
SECS-S/05 - SOCIAL STATISTICS - University credits: 6
Lessons: 60 hours
Professor: Cela Eralba
By appointment On Microsoft Teams