Spring 2016 - SA 355 E100

Quantitative Methods (S) (4)

Class Number: 5563

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 5 – Apr 11, 2016: Mon, 5:30–9:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 16, 2016
    Sat, 7:00–10:00 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    SA 255 or POL 201, and STAT 203 (formerly 103).



An examination of measurement issues within sociological research, focusing on the logical and conceptual construction and Interpretation of tables, and an examination of the uses and abuses of statistics. Through an Introduction to 'hands on' use of the computer, this course emphasizes the applications, rather than the mathematics, of statistics. Students with credit for SA 355 may not take POL 315 for further credit. Quantitative.


In this course, you finally get to play with statistics! You have taken many courses about what sociologists have found out as they’ve done empirical research. You’ve learned some basics about quantitative (and qualitative) research design. You’ve learned some of the math behind statistics. This is the course where you get to try out quantitative analysis for yourself. Of course, using statistics in social research is not only fun. It’s also interesting, important, and requires some specific ways of thinking about analysis. This is what you will learn about in SA 355.  

The objectives of this course are to teach you 1) how, why and when we use statistics in sociology, 2) some basics of measurement issues, 3) what to describe about numerical data, why and how, 4) how to decide which of a few basic statistical tests to use when evaluating hypotheses, 5) how to conduct those tests using the program SPSS and how to interpret the results, and finally 6) how to present your findings to others. You will develop research question(s) that you choose, and you will conduct statistical analysis of existing data to find out the answer for yourself.  

This course focuses on understanding social science statistical analysis, using statistical tests, and presenting statistical results. We will talk about some important principles that involve numbers, but we will not focus on the math behind statistical tests. People who love the math often find that applying it requires a different way of reasoning, while people who are intimidated by the math find that reasoning about the principles of when and why to use different statistical techniques is actually doable. We will use readings, lectures, discussion and lab time to introduce and practice this reasoning. You will also learn how to process data, conduct basic statistical analyses and make tables and graphs using a combination of two programs common to many companies, SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) and Microsoft Word.


  • Quizzes: 40%
  • Project assignments: 60%


Where a final exam is scheduled and you do not write the exam or withdraw from the course before the deadline date, you will be assigned an N grade. Unless otherwise specified on the course outline, all graded assignments in this course must be completed for a final grade other than N to be assigned.

Academic Dishonesty and Misconduct Policy The Department of Sociology and Anthropology follows SFU policy in relation to grading practices, grade appeals (Policy T 20.01) and academic dishonesty and misconduct procedures (S10.01‐ S10.04).  Unless otherwise informed by your instructor in writing, in graded written assignments you must cite the sources you rely on and include a bibliography/list of references, following an instructor-approved citation style.  It is the responsibility of students to inform themselves of the content of SFU policies available on the SFU website: http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student.html.



Chava Frankfort-Nachmias and Anna Leon-Guerrero. 2015. Social Statistics for a Diverse Society, 7th edition. Sage Press.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://students.sfu.ca/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html