Textbooks and Exercises

These instructional materials are designed for use in a variety of social science disciplines. They vary in complexity from a series of short exercises to online textbooks. All are published under Creative Commons licenses and instructors have permission to modify the materials as they see fit.

For the past few years, the California State University (CSU) Social Science Research and Instructional Council has been able to provide honoraria of $3,000 to a limited number of faculty submitting the best proposals. During the Spring Semester, the Council sends out an RFP (see the most recent version here to its mailing list. If you are a CSU faculty or staff member and would like to join this list, you may do so here. If you have any questions, please write Ed Nelson (enelson@csufresno.edu) or John Korey (Jlkorey@cpp.edu).

The exercises fall into two broad categories – those that are primarily research and statistics oriented and those that are more content oriented.  Each is described briefly in this document.

Almost all of the textbooks and exercises described use one or more of these statistical software packages:

  • SPSS: a commonly used statistical package used in many classes. If your institution does not have a license for SPSS, you can purchase a copy. A tutorial on the use of SPSS is freely available by clicking on this link
  • PSPP: The creators of PSPP describe it as "a [f]ree replacement for the proprietary program SPSS." It has a look and feel similar to SPSS, and many but not all of its capabilities. For more information on PSPP, visit the PSPP website, or download our handouts,  “Notes on Using PSPP” and “Differences between PSPP and SPSS.
  • SDA: Online statistical analysis program developed by the Survey Methods Program at UC Berkeley. SDA is freely available to anyone with internet access.

Note that materials developed for use with PSPP can be run using SPSS; materials developed for use with SPSS can probably be run using PSPP, but this has not been verified.

 Information below includes:

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Textbooks

IBM SPSS Statistics (Version 26): A Basic Tutorial -- http://ssric.org/node/696
Intended for those who want to learn the basics of SPSS.  It includes all the functions of SPSS that you would use in introductory research methods and statistics classes.  The most recent revision was completed in 2020.

PSPP: A Basic Tutorial -- http://ssric.org/node/699
A free alternative to SPSS, created by the Free Software Foundation. Includes many, but not all, of the features found in SPSS.  This Tutorial includes a subset of the 2018 General Social Survey (GSS) for use in conjunction with the software.  Created in 2020.

Introduction to Statistics: Available in three different versions:

  • Exercises for an Introductory Statistics Class Using SPSS (Version 26) -- http://ssric.org/node/492 
    Provides a series of exercises that could be used in an introductory statistics course in the social sciences using data from the 2018 General Social Survey.  Revised in 2020.
  • Exercises for an Introductory Statistics Class Using PSPP -- http://ssric.org/node/559  
    Provides a series of exercises that could be used in an introductory statistics course in the social sciences using data from the 2018 General Social Survey.  Revised in 2020.
  • Exercises for an Introductory Statistics Class Using SDA (Survey Documentation and Analysis) -- http://ssric.org/node/597
    Provides a series of exercises that could be used in an introductory statistics course in the social sciences using data from the 2018 General Social Survey.  Revised in 2020.

Research Methods -- http://ssric.org/node/619
Provides an introduction to research methods including research design, measurement, sampling, survey data collection, univariate, bivariate and multivariate data analysis using the 2018 survey of high school seniors which is part of the Monitoring the Future series. Includes a chapter on writing research reports.  Statistical software used is SDA (Survey Documentation and Analysis).  Created in 2019.

Introduction to Research Methods in Political Science: The POWERMUTT Project --http://www.cpp.edu/~jlkorey/POWERMUTT/site_map.htm 
A web site that can serve as a basic on-line textbook for teaching research methods (from frequency distributions through OLS) in political science and cognate disciplines. Included are data subsets of the American National Election Studies (ANES) and the GSS cumulative file, as well as data from the U.S. Senate, the American states, and the countries of the world. Statistical software used is SPSS. Created in 2003, revised in 2015.

 

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Exercises, Primarily Methods/Statistics-oriented

Exploring the Macroeconomy -- https://ssric.org/trd/modules/macr
Exploring the Macroeconomy: An instructional module, using SPSS, the US national income and product accounts, and additional data from the Departments of Labor and Commerce. Designed to fill the gap between an introductory statistics course and either principles of macroeconomics or intermediate macroeconomics. The goal is to bring empirical analysis into macro theory courses and to bring macro examples into statistics courses.

Formulating and Testing Research Questions-- http://www.ssric.org/node/708
A series of exercises to guide you through the research process, from selection of a topic through analysis and interpretation of data.

Longitudinal Analysis of Survey Data -- http://www.ssric.org/node/614
Introduction  to several ways (cohort analysis, trend analysis, panel studies) of examining change over time. Data for the exercises consist of three subsets drawn from two national surveys, the General Social Survey (GSS) and the American National Election Study (ANES). Statistical analysis used is SPSS. Created 2016.

Puzzling it Out: Collaborative, Game Based Review Activities for Introductory Statistics --http://www.ssric.org/files/2019-12/StatPuzzles-AllFiles.pdf
This activity incorporates high-impact practices to review and practice introductory statistics concepts. The exercises are inspired by “escape room” puzzle games. In small groups, students solve puzzles that require them to apply basic statistical knowledge and skills. Winner of an Instructional Materials Grant from the SSRIC. Created in 2019.

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Exercises, Primarily Content-oriented

Abortion -- http://ssric.org/node/482
Introduces students to measurement, reliability, and relationships between variables using data from the 2018 General Social Survey.  Statistical software used is SPSS.  Created in 2015; Revised in 2020. 

Confidence in Societal Institutions and Spending Priorities -- http://ssric.org/node/551
Introduces students to univariate, bivariat Mortgage Disclosure e and multivariate analysis using data from the 2018 General Social Survey.    Statistical software used is SPSS.  Created in 2016; Revised in 2020.

Fair Lending Practices -- http://ssric.org/node/707
Students will use Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data to examine differences in mortgage approval rates for difference demographic groups (race, ethnicity, gender) controlling for income. Created in 2020.

Gender Differences -- http://ssric.org/node/529
Introduces students to univariate, bivariate and multivariate analysis using data from the 2018 General Social Survey.    Statistical software used is SPSS.  Created in 2016: Revised in 2020.

Globalization: A Data Analysis Approach -- http://ssric.org/node/702
These exercises integrate key concepts related to the study of international political economy by applying quantitative methods. They help students understand the dynamics of international trade, contrasting patterns of international development, and how winners and losers from globalization behave at the ballot box. Students will also learn how to present quantitative information graphically. Statistical software used is STATA. Created in 2020.

Gun Issues -- http://www.ssric.org/node/697
Introduces students to research design, univariate, bivariate, and multivariate analysis using data from a 2016 Pew Research Center political survey.  Includes a chapter on writing research reports.   Statistical software used is PSPP. Created in 2020.

Introduction to the Study of War -- http://www.ssric.org/node/703
Introduces students to research design, univariate, bivariate, and multivariate analysis using data from a 2016 Pew Research Center political survey.  Includes a chapter on writing research reports.   Statistical software used is PSPP. Created in 2020.

Political and Social Divisions in America -- http://www.ssric.org/node/709
The goal of these exercises is to introduce students to the analysis of political and social divisions in American society using the 2018 General Social Survey, a large national probability survey of adults in the U.S.  The focus is on political, gender, socioeconomic, racial, religious, and geographical divisions.  The first six exercises focus on two-variable analysis (i.e., bivariate analysis) and the last six on three-variable analysis (i.e., multivariate analysis).  We use several statistical tools (i.e., crosstabulation, Chi Square, and measures of association). The statistical program we're using is Survey Documentation and Analysis (SDA) written at UC Berkeley and freely available wherever you have an internet connection. There is a brief introduction to SDA at the end of these exercises.  

Public Opinion on Social Issues 1975-2017 -- https://ssric.org/node/339
Introduces students to bivariate and multivariate analysis using data from the General Social Survey.  Two data sets are used -- one that includes only the 2018 file and the other that includes data from seven time periods.  Statistical software used is SPSS or PSPP.  Revised in 2019.

Religion – Part 1 -- http://ssric.org/node/476
Introduces students to issues of conceptualization, measurement, validity, bivariate and multivariate analysis using data are from the 2014 General Social Survey.  Statistical software used is SPSS.  Created in 2015; revised in 2020.

Religion – Part 2 -- http://ssric.org/node/664
Introduces students to measurement, bivariate and multivariate analysis using data from the 2014 Pew Research Center's Religious Landscape Survey.  Statistical software used is SPSS.  Created in 2017; revised in 2020.

Sports Medicine -- http://ssric.org/node/706
This module consists of six exercises dealing with data in the field of sports medicine. Created in 2020.

Tolerance -- http://ssric.org/node/485
Introduces students to univariate, bivariate and multivariate analysis using the 2018 General Social Survey.  Statistical software used is SPSS.  Created in 2016; revised in 2020.    

Critical Thinking -- http://ssric.org/node/467
Provides an introduction to critical thinking skills using exercises with different data sets which include the General Social Survey and various Pew Research Center surveys. Statistical software used is SPSS and SDA.  Revised in 2020.

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Ways to Use These Materials in Class

  1. You can use them from an instructor's station in a classroom or in a computer lab for a presentation or demonstration.
  2. You can provide links to them from your on-line syllabus for regular assignments or as independent and extra credit projects, with little or no modification.
  3. Materials can be downloaded; you can then modify them as needed, and distribute or place them on a local server.