Data Analysis and Critical Thinking
Scope of the Course:
The course is about the analysis of data, as this relates to the process of critical reflection and methods of social science. It is designed and presented for non-mathematically inclined students: it is not a course about statistics. Rather, the statistical research technique will be presented with minimal reference to mathematics. The central objective is to enable the students to become informed consumers and producers of social scientific literature. The following topics will be addressed:
The scientific method, research question, theory, hypotheses and research design.
The basic concepts of quantitative data analysis such as variables, samples, populations, frequency distributions, measures of central tendency and dispersion, basic bivariate and multivariate regression and significance testing.
Empirical research designs, formulation and testing of hypotheses.
The course will provide students with both theoretical as well as practical knowledge regarding quantitative data analysis and SPSS.
The learning objectives for this course are to enable students to:
The objectives of this course are to:
Aid students to better understand the philosophy behind the scientific method, including formulating theories, hypotheses and the fundamentals of research design;
Familiarise students with the basic concepts of statistics and data analysis such as: data, variables, samples, populations, frequency distributions, measures of central tendency and dispersion, probability, basic bivariate and multivariate analysis and significance testing;
Enable students to understand how to code, enter, manipulate and analyse data using the most popular and user-friendly, off-the-shelf software packages such as Microsoft Excel and SPSS for Windows;
Enable students to develop empirical research designs, and formulate and test hypotheses using the techniques described above;
Enable students to become more informed consumers of social scientific literature;
Enable students to test their own ideas, to assist in the construction of independent research projects.
See the Course Schedule to find out when this course is offered.
Download a copy of the Course Syllabus .