This text is designed primarily for the first year of statistics for students in sociology. It is suggested that statistics be taken early in the course of study so that the students will be able to understand an devaluate the quantitative material offered them in their other courses, as well as to plan intelligently their own original work. This text may be used also for undergraduate majors in the combined social sciences, for social workers, for public health nurses, or for others who need certain fundamental knowledge of social statistics even though they do not plan actually to engage in social research.
The purpose of the text is twofold: to afford the student an understanding and appreciation of quantitative research methods in order that he may comprehend and evaluate the past and current researches of others in his field; and to afford the student a mastery of the procedures of statistical analysis and especially of the interpretation of the results of statistical analysis, in order that he may utilize these tools correctly and confidently in his own work.
No prerequisite of mathematics beyond freshman college mathematics (either mathematical analysis or college algebra) is required for understanding this text. In fact, a mastery of only high school algebra is sufficient for learning to perform the statistical procedures. Since the writer shares with many the conviction that every student in sociology should have statistical training, and since the majority of sociology majors have not had mathematics beyond freshman work, it seems reasonable that such a required course should be as nonmathematical as possible. The emphasis in this text, then, is not upon statistical theory as such, derivations, or proofs of formulas, but rather upon correct application of statistical methods to sociological data and upon careful interpretation of results. Those students who decide to specialize in social statistics should by all means follow this text and the course based upon it with a more rigorous treatment of the mathematical and theoretical aspects of statistics.
This nonmathematical emphasis does not mean that only the simplest elementary topics are treated here. On the contrary, we have attempted to include all the basic statistical methods which have been used in sociological research, and some of the newer ones which have not as yet found wide application in sociological fields. Furthermore, there is considerable attention to measures of prediction, confidence limits, and special methods and formulas for small samples, which are not found in any of the existing texts on social statistics. The writer believes that these more accurate modern statistical methods must supersede some of the looser ones now in use, and that in spite of their mathematically difficult basis, they can be mastered and correctly applied by students who have little mathematical background.
An introduction to statistics which utilizes data, applications, and interpretations in one's own field is undoubtedly easier and more efficient than the alternative of learning methods as applied in another field and then transferring the procedures to one's own. Therefore, this text, written primarily for sociology students, uses materials dealt with by sociologists and those in closely related fields, such as social work, and its focus is on the applications of the various methods to the problems of sociology.
Part 1: Quantitative Methods in Sociology
Part II: Descriptive Statistics
Part III: Inductive Statistics
Part IV: Statistics of Relationships
Part V: Selected Techniques for Population Data