The wide availability of data in our societies allows us to analyse several issues related to demographic, social, and labour market dynamics, i.e. aging, immigration, educational and occupational career, life courses, couple formation, fertility, etc. In order to exploit data sources, the knowledge of statistical analysis and inference is a crucial point. This course aims to introduce the logic of quantitative analysis in social research by providing students with some useful tools for data manipulation, exploratory data analysis, statistical tests, categorical data analysis, and regression. The course enables students to structure and conduct autonomously a research project based on the analysis of data sets concerning social sciences. In detail, attending students will be able to: - collect data and enter their own datasets for analysis, - identify appropriate statistical methods, - conduct their own analysis using the software program SPSS, a widely used software package in the social sciences; - interpret the results of the data analysis, - check the assumptions on which each analysis depends and make appropriate adjustments or select alternative methods of analysis..
Data sources for social research. Data matrix, cases and variables. Distributions and numerical summaries. Data manipulation. Scaling and standardizing. Measuring inequality. Smoothing time series. Sampling and statistical inference. Contingency tables. Chi-square statistic. Scatterplots and linear relationships. Linear regression model. Causal explanation and multivariate analysis. Multiple regression and logistic regression models. Longitudinal data and approaches to event history modelling.