Department of Sociology
Spring, 2003

Soc. 920:502, Sociology of Research Methods
Patricia A. Roos
Rm. A-342, Lucy Stone Hall
Phone: (732) 445-5848
Office Hours: Thursday 1-2:30 p.m. (or by appointment)


It's an experience like no other experience I can describe, the best thing that can happen to a scientist, realizing that something that's happened in his or her mind exactly corresponds to something that happens in nature. It's startling every time it occurs. One is surprised that a construct of one's own mind can actually be realized in the honest-to-goodness world out there. A great shock, and a great, great joy. Leo Kadanoff, Chaos

I. Goals: This is a course on how to do theoretically informed quantitative social research. The emphasis will be on data analysis, and interpreting and writing up the analytic results. By the end of the course, you should be fairly adept at making sociological sense out of a body of quantitative data. I will concentrate on analytic techniques based on regression analysis. At the minimum, I will cover the following techniques: tabular analysis (briefly); regression analysis in its various forms, including dummy variable regression analysis, and decomposition of R2 into component parts; factor analysis (for scale construction); logistic regression; and multinomial logit. This is good basic preparation for more advanced courses in time series analysis, Lisrel, and so forth.

Because this is a capstone course, the emphasis is on using statistical procedures to link theory and data to draw substantive conclusions, and writing up results, not on learning statistics per se. A graduate-level statistics course through multiple regression is a prerequisite for this course. I will assume that you have a statistics text to which you can refer. If you don't, you might want to buy Agresti and Finlay, which is very accessible to social scientists:

Agresti, Alan, and Barbara Finlay. 1986. Statistical Methods for the Social Sciences. Second edition. San Francisco, CA: Dellen.

II. Books: I recommend you use SAS as your statistical package, but if you are already familiar with SPSS feel free to use that (although you'll be on your own). Each of you will have access to Sociology's Computing Lab, which has documentation for both SAS and SPSS. If you don't have a userid, contact Shan Harewood at the Lab. If you want to order SAS for your home computer, see Shan as well. The department has a site license for SAS, which makes it relatively inexpensive.

I recommend that you order your own SAS manuals, as needed. This will be especially important if you are unable to work at the Sociology Lab. For SAS, these three volumes (or sets of volumes) are the primary source books, which you can supplement with volumes in the Lab.

A Step-by-Step Approach to Using the SAS System for Univariate and Multivariate Statistics
SAS Procedures Guide, Version 8, Volumes 1 and 2
SAS/STAT User's Guide, Version 8, Volumes 1, 2, and 3

The Step-by Step Approach volume is probably your best best (it provides most of what you need through multiple regression, but not more sophisticated models). The SAS Procedures volumes provide the basic SAS procedures/statistics (e.g., FREQ, MEANS, PRINT, TABULATE, UNIVARIATE), but in more depth. You probably only need this if you plan extensive computing. The last set of volumes (SAS/STAT) provide all the gory details on the more advanced statistical techniques (e.g., FACTOR, REG, CATMOD). Still other volumes provide information on SAS Language (but you can use these as necessary in the Sociology Lab). These volumes are very expensive, so my advice is to start with "A Step-by-Step Approach." If you plan on more extensive computing, the SAS/STAT User's Guide is a good reference source as well. IF YOU PLAN TO ORDER MANUALS, DO SO AS SOON AS POSSIBLE (BEFORE THE SEMESTER STARTS). You might also want to work your way through the SAS Tutorial.

There is minimal required reading for this course. I do, however, provide a set of illustrative articles for your use, either online or in the Sociology Library (see below). In addition, I provide a bibliography of readings for the course, which I'll continue to update as I find new references. I include these so that you will have background reading on the techniques we discuss, and examples of how they are used in practice. A number of the illustrative articles are written by our own faculty. Some of these articles will be available in the Sociology Library, some will be available online, others you will need to find on your own. You will have, of course, additional readings associated with the particular topic you choose for your final paper. The emphasis will be on learning by doing. This means lots of computer work and lots of writing up results.

III. Course Requirements: The core of the course is a series of six assignments, which will constitute 60 percent of the grade (see attached calendar). It is important to keep up to date, since you must understand previous material to follow what comes next. These assignments will be due in class a week or two after they are assigned. You must complete all the assignments to get a grade for the course.

The rest of the grade (40 percent) will be based on a final paper (on a topic of your choice), in which you carry out a quantitative analysis of some substantive issue using the technical and analytical skills you have developed in the course. I strongly urge you to choose a topic early so that you can structure your assignments around your final paper. The final paper proposal is due March 13th (Assignment 4), the literature review is due April 3rd (Assignment 5), and the final paper is due May 8th. To move you along on the literature review, we will spent part of the class on February 27th at the Kilmer Library, where a librarian will give you some pointers on electronic data bases and other library sources. I don't like incompletes, and you shouldn't either, so plan to get that paper (and those assignments) in on time!

Choosing a data set: In choosing a data set, feel free to use your own data (either data you collected yourself, data you have access to from other sources, ICPSR data, or whatever). This is really the best option for those of you far enough along to be working on your dissertation or papers for meetings. The only criterion for using your own data set is that the quality of the data must be sufficient to meet the requirements of the multivariate techniques we use. Check with me if you have any questions!! If you do not have your own data, you can get data from other sources. For example, there are the 1972-2000 General Social Surveys, which you can get in either SAS or SPSS system file formats. Check out the GSS website for details. You can download GSS data on your home computer, if you desire. Alternatively, I have the 1998 GSS data set online as a SAS system file, which I can make available to you. Other data sets are available through ICPSR. The best source for ICPSR and other data is the Humanities and Social Sciences Data Center on the 4th floor of Alexander Library (Ronald Jantz, Director). Another good local source of data is the Eagleton Poll Archives.

You must have the data set you plan to use ready for use by week 2 or 3 of class. Otherwise you won't be able to complete your assignments.

IV. Miscellaneous:

1) All of you will need to undergo IRB review for this class. If you collected your own data, you should have already gone through the IRB process. If you are using existing data, you can probably get a waiver. Read through the IRB annual memo to understand the rules and to find the appropriate forms.

2) All assignments and the final paper must be typed. Use Word or Excel to prepare tables.

3) We have only 14 meetings, three of which are given over to student presentations. Attendance and participation is critical. The norm for graduate courses is: thou shalt not miss class!

4) For Assignment 4 I will ask each of you to write a brief proposal of your final project, as well as to present the proposal to the class on March 13th. These will be due a few days early, in the form of electronic copies to all class members. During the last two weeks of class you will present your ongoing work to the class. As with the proposal you will send around electronic versions of your preliminary tables and writings to class members several days before the presentation. The class discussion will focus on comments and suggestions for revisions.

V. Course Outline (see attached schedule of readings and due dates):

Week 1 (January 23): Crosstabs, computer info, IRB's

Week 2 (January 30): Basics, simple regression

Week 3 (February 6): Multiple regression/computer printouts/presentation of results

Week 4 (February 13): Regression in practice/Dummy variable regression

Week 5 (February 20): Dummy variable regression

Week 6 (February 27): Related topics/Library (Kilmer Library, Rm. 10)

Week 7 (March 6): Decomposition of means

Week 8 (March 13): Proposal presentations

Spring Break: No class March 20th!

Week 9 (March 27): Factor analysis for scale creation

Week 10 (April 3): Logistic regression

Week 11 (April 10): Logistic regression (cont).

Week 12 (April 17): Multinomial logit

Week 13 (April 24): Final paper presentations

Week 14 (May 1): Final paper presentations

FINAL PAPERS DUE: Thursday, May 8th



Week 1 (January 23)
Crosstabs, computer info, IRB's

Babbie, Notes on Percentaging
IRB Reading (Rutgers Annual Memo)
[Recommended: Shea]

Week 2 (January 30)
Basics, simple regression
Week 3 (February 6)
Multiple regression, printouts, presentation
[Recommended: see bibliography for illustrative examples]
Ass. 1: Crosstabulation

Week 4 (February 13)
Regression in practice
Dummy vars

Clarke and Estes
Week 5 (February 20)
Dummy vars
[Recommended: see bibliography for illustrative examples]
Ass. 2: Regression and correlation
Week 6 (February 27)
Related topics/Library
[Recommended: see bibliography for illustrative examples]
Week 7 (March 6)
Decomposition of means
[Recommended: see bibliography for illustrative examples]

Ass. 3: Dummy variables

Week 8 (March 13)
Proposal presentations
Ass. 4: Proposal
Week 9 (March 27)
Factor analysis for scale creation
[Recommended: see bibliography for illustrative examples]
Week 10 (April 3)
Logistic regression
[Recommended: see bibliography for illustrative examples]
  Assignment 5: Literature review
Week 11 (April 10)
Logistic regression (cont.)
[Recommended: see bibliography for illustrative examples]



Week 12 (April 17)
Multinomial logit

[Recommended:see bibliography for illustrative examples]

 Ass. 6: Factor analysis, decomposition, or logistic regression, or . . . 

Week 13 (April 24)
Final paper presentations
Ass. 6: for multinomial logit
Week 14 (May 1)
Final paper presentations
Thursday, May 8
Final paper due


VI. Selected readings available online or in the Sociology Library
(I have noted the link for some of these articles. Others may be available through JSTOR or through Academic Search Premier, or in the Sociology Library. See attached bibliography for additional illustrative examples.)

Babbie, Earl. n.d. "Notes on Percentaging Tables. Unpublished notes. [click here]

Bonchek, Lisa. 1996. "The Confidence Map: Public Trust in Social, Political, and Economic Institutions." Unpublished paper, Department of Sociology, Rutgers University.

Böröcz, József. "Decomposing the Intellectuals' Class Power: Conversion of Cultural Capital to Income, Hungary, 1986. Social Forces 74:797-821.

Carr, Deborah. 1996. "Two Paths to Self-Employment? Women's and Men's Self-Employment in the United States, 1980." Work and Occupations 23:26-53. [click here]

Carr, Deborah. 1997. "The Fulfillment of Career Dreams at Midlife: Does it Matter for Women's Mental Health.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 38:331-344. [click here]

Carr, Deborah, James S. House, Ronald C. Kessler, Randolph M. Nesse, John Sonnega, and Camille Wortman. 2000. “Marital Quality and Psychological Adjustment to Widowhood Among Older Adults: A Longitudinal Analysis.” Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences 55B:S197-207. [click here]

Carr, Deborah, James S. House, Camille Wortman, Randolph M. Nesse, and Ronald C. Kessler. 2001. “Psychological Adjustment to Sudden and Anticipated Spousal Death Among the Older Widowed.” Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences 56B: S237-48. [click here]

Carr, Deborah and Jennifer Sheridan. 2001. "Family Turning Points and Career Transitions at Midlife." Pp. 201-227 in Restructuring Work and the Life Course, edited by Victor W. Marshall, Walter R. Heinz, Helga Krueger, and Anil Verma. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. [Hazard models]

Carr, Deborah. 2002. The Psychological Consequences of Work-Family Trade-offs for Three Cohorts of Men and Women. Social Psychological Quarterly 65:103-124. [click here]

Carr, Deborah. Forthcoming. "A "Good Death" for Whom? Quality of Spouse's Death and Psychological Distress among Older Widowed Persons." Journal of Health and Social Behavior. [click here]

Cerulo, Karen A. 1988. "Analyzing Cultural Products: A New Method of Measurement." Social Science Research 17:317-352.

Chayko, Mary. 1993. "How You "Act Your Age" When You Watch TV." Sociological Forum 8:573-93.

Clarke, Lee, and Carroll Estes. 1992. "Sociological and Economic Theories of Markets and Nonprofits: Evidence from Home Health Organizations." American Journal of Sociology 97 (January):945-69. [click here, JSTOR]

Cleary, Paul D., and Ronald Angel. 1984. "The Analysis of Relationships Involving Dichotomous Dependent Variables." Journal of Health and Social Behavior 25 (September):334-348.

Conley, Dalton. 1999. Being Black, Living in the Red: Race, Wealth, and Social Policy in America. Berkeley: University of California Press. (Ch. 2)

Friedman, Judith J. 1995. "The Effects of Industrial Structure and Resources upon the Distribution of Fast-Growing Small Firms among U.S. Urbanised Areas." Urban Studies 32:863-883.

Gatta, Mary L., and Patricia A. Roos. 2003. "Rethinking Occupational Integration." Revised version of a paper presented at the Annual Meetings of the American Sociological Association, 2001.

Hall, Brian. 1992. "In God We Trust: The Central Role of Religion in Determining Political Philosophy." Unpublished paper, Department of Sociology, Rutgers University.

Horwitz, Allan V., Helene Raskin White, and Sandra Howell-White. 1996. "The Use of Multiple Outcomes in Stress Research: A Case Study of Gender Differences in Responses to Marital Dissolution." Journal of Health and Social Behavior 37:278-291.

Horwitz, Allan V., Cathy Spatz Widom, Julie McLaughlin, and Helene Raskin White. 2001. "The Impact of Childhood Abuse and Neglect on Adult Mental Health: A Prospective Study." Journal of Health and Social Behavior 42:184-201.

Horwitz, Allan V., Tami M. Videon, Mark F. Schmitz, and Diane Davis. Forthcoming. "Rethinking Twins and Environments: Possible Social Sources for Assumed Genetic Influences in Twin Research." Journal of Health and Social Behavior.

Idler, Ellen L. 1995. "Religion, Health, and Nonphysical Senses of Self." Social Forces 74:683-704.

Idler, Ellen L., and Ronald J. Angel. 1990. "Age, Chronic Pain, and Subjective Assessments of Health." Advances in Medical Sociology 1:131-152.

Idler, Ellen L., and Stanislav V. Kasl. 1995. "Self-Ratings of Health: Do They Also Predict Change in Functional Ability?" Journal of Gerontology 50B:S344-S353.

Idler, Ellen L., Stanislav V. Kasl, and Jon H. Lemke. 1990. "Self-Evaluated Health and Mortality among the Ederly in New Haven, Connecticut, and Iowa and Washington Counties, Iowa, 1982-1986." American Journal of Epidemiology 131:91-103.

Idler, Ellen, Stanislav V. Kasl, and Judith C. Hays. 2001. "Patterns of Religious Practice and Belief in the Last Year of Life." Journal of Gerontology 56B:S326-S334.

IRB Reading: Rutgers Human Subjects Research Annual Memo: [click here]

Kelley, Jonathan. 1974. "The Politics of School Busing." Public Opinion Quarterly 38:23-39.

McCall, Leslie. 1998 "Spatial Routes to Gender Wage (In)equality: Regional Restructuring and Wage Differentials by Gender and Education." Economic Geography 74(4): 379-404. [click here]

McCall, Leslie. 2000 "Explaining Levels of Within-Group Wage Inequality in U.S. Labor Markets." Demography 37(4): 415-430. [click here]

McCall, Leslie. 2000 "Gender and the New Inequality: Explaining the College/Non-College Wage Gap in U.S. Labor Markets." American Sociological Review 65(2): 234-255. [click here]

McCall, Leslie. 2001 "Sources of Racial Wage Inequality in Metropolitan Labor Markets: Racial, Ethnic, and Gender Differences." American Sociological Review 66(4): 520-542. [click here]

McDaniel, Patricia. 1994. "Pulling the Pursestrings: The Social Context of Religious Contributions in the United States." Unpublished paper, Department of Sociology, Rutgers University.

Phillips, Julie A. 1997. "Variation in African-American Homicide Rates: An Assessment of Potential Explanations." Criminology 35:527-559.

Phillips, Julie A., and Douglas S. Massey. 1999. "The New Labor Market: Immigrants and Wages after IRCA" Demography 36:233-246. [click here]

Phillips, Julie A. 2002. "Black, White, and Latino Homicide Rates: Why the Difference?" Social Problems 49:349-373. [click here]

Roos, Patricia A. 1981. "Sex Stratification in the Workplace: Male-Female Differences in Economic Returns to Occupation." Social Science Research 10:195-224.

Roos, Patricia A. 1983. "Marriage and Women's Occupational Attainment in Cross-Cultural Perspective." American Sociological Review 48:852-64. [click here, JSTOR]

Roos, Patricia A., and Joyce F. Hennessy. 1987. "Assimilation or Exclusion? Japanese and Mexican Americans in California." Sociological Forum 2:278-304.

Rudel, Thomas K. 2002. "Ecologically Noble Amerindians? Cattle Ranching and Cash Cropping among Shuar and Colonists in Ecuador." Latin American Research Review 37:144-159.

Rudel, Thomas K., Diane Bates, and Rafael Machinguiashi. 2002. "A Tropical Forest Transition? Agricultural Change, Out-Migration, and Secondary Forests in the Ecuadorian Amazon." Annals of the Association of American Geographers. 92:87-102.

Shea, Christopher. 2000. "Don't Talk to the Humans: The Crackdown on Social Science Research." Lingua Franca 10 (6). (click here)

Sweeney, Megan M., and Allan V. Horwitz. 2001. "Infidelity, Initiation, and the Emotional Climate of Divorce: Are There Implications for Mental Health." Journal of Health and Social Behavior 42:295-309.

Treiman, Donald J., and Patricia A. Roos. 1983. "Sex and Earnings in Industrial Society: A Nine-Nation Comparison." American Journal of Sociology 89:612-50. [click here, JSTOR]

Wainer, Howard. 1984. "How to Display Data Badly." The American Statistician 38:137-147. [click here]

Research and Writing Citations (for your writing pleasure):

Alford, Robert R. 1998. The Craft of Inquiry: Theories, Methods, Evidence. New York: Oxford University Press.

Becker, Howard S. 1998. Tricks of the Trade: How to Think About Your Research While You're Doing It. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Becker, Howard S. 1986. Writing for Social Scientists: How to Start and Finish Your Thesis, Book, or Article. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Clarke, Lee. 2000. "On Writing and Criticism"
[click here]

Jasper, James M. 2002. "Why So Many Academics are Lousy Writers." Chronicle of Higher Education. Tuesday, March 26th.
[click here]

Rosenfield, Sarah. 1998. "Some Things to Think About While Reading Papers"
[click here]

Strunk, William Jr., and E.B. White. 2000. The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition. New York: Allyn & Bacon.