Quantitative Reasoning Module on Social Stratification


Maria Aysa-Lastra

This module contains five activities aimed at increasing quantitative reasoning abilities of students taking lower and upper level division courses in sociology. The activities introduce students to existing data sources, basic data analysis and interpretation. Activities and their corresponding assessments are described below, and can be modified for different topics/courses or time periods depending on data availability. The activities in this module can be taught independently in introductory or higher level courses in the social sciences. The module core topic as designed in this guide is social stratification with emphasis on the description of the American contemporary middle class.

Learning Goals

After completing the activities in this module students will be able to:

1. Explain the importance of producing, using and interpreting data

2. Explain why and how the US government collect data on the American population

3. Identify important sources of data: ACS, CPS, BRFSS, etc.

4. Gain exposure to geographical patterns based on data collected by the government

5. Design and interpret a frequency table

6. Distinguish a categorical and continuous variable

7. Identify an independent and a dependent variable

8. Design and interpret a cross tabulation

9. Create graphs and figures

10. Developing a hypothesis

11. Identify a control variable

12. Coding and creating new categories

13. Identify different analytical strategies

14. Design and interpret analysis of the difference of means

15. Interpret and critique tables designed by colleagues and other researchers.

Description and Teaching Materials

Description: The back bone of a healthy society is a sizable and racially diverse middle class. The increasing diversity of the US population requires us to evaluate the participation of minority groups in the middle class, and identify the variables that explain their unequal racial and ethnic distribution and citizenship status in this important segment of our society.

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