Renáta Németh, Dávid Simon
What is social statistics? Why do we need it?
Interpretation pitfall I: Ecological fallacy
Interpretation pitfall II: An empirical relationship does not imply causation
Interpretation pitfall III: A trend present in a group may be reversed when the group is split into two (Simpson’s paradox)
Quantitative and qualitative methods
Rough definition of science: systematic empirical observation, typologies, comparison, explanation, objectivity, revealing facts independent of the observer
Question to be answered:
Why does a social scientist need statistics?
Everyday relevance: marketing surveys, voting polls, statistical data in newspapers and magazines
Professional relevance: as a social researcher, you will be expected to interpret statistical information (even if conducting research will not be a part of your job, you may still be expected to understand other people's research reports)
What is statistics?
Examples for everyday association: per capita GDP, birth rate, etc.
But “statistics” also refers to a set of procedures used by social scientists. These procedures are used to organize, summarize and communicate data, they are used to answer research questions and to test theories.
In everyday life even an educated person can easily misunderstand basic statistical information.
Main goal of this course is to help you to recognize and to avoid these pitfalls.