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07/17/2013

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University of VermontCollege of Education and Social ServicesDepartment of Social Work 
SWSS 7: Quantitative Methods in Social Work Research
Summer 2013 Instructor: Gary Widrick, Ph.D.Tues., Thurs. 5:00-8:45 p.m. Phone: 656-8801 (voice mail)Location: Lafayette 408 E mail:gary.widrick@uvm.edu 3 credits Office and hours: Waterman 439 & by app’t.It is a simple task to make things complex,But a complex task to make things simple.Chinese ProverbWhere is the wisdom that is buried in the knowledge?Where is the wisdom that is buried in the data?T.S. ElliottFrom:
The Canto of the Rock 
 
1.0 COURSE DESCRIPTION
 1.1 OVERVIEW OF THE COURSEThis course is designed as an introduction to statistics commonly found in social work practice,policy and research. The course will cover the range of statistical concepts from univariate tomultivariate analysis as well as descriptive and inferential statistics. The course content will bediscussed conceptually as well as from applied and intuitive perspectives. Each class will covera specific set of statistical conventions (including mathematical derivations and formulations),the underlying assumptions of their construction, and their application in the social work literature. The course will also include the use of the latest version of the Statistical Package forthe Social Sciences (SPSS) (Version 19) for data entry and analysis. The goals of the course arethree fold: (1.) beginning competence in statistics; (2.) preparing students to use and critiquestatistical methods in practice and research; and (3.) helping students present statistics clearly andaccurately. The course has been accepted by the Department of Social Work as an equivalentcourse to an intermediate statistics course such as Stat 141.1.2 Course ObjectivesStudents who successfully complete the course should be able to demonstrate the following
 
2knowledge, value and skill objectives:
Knowledge
:1. Develop a conceptual framework for quantitative reasoning;2. Understand the use of statistics in social work journal articles;3. Understand the underlying assumptions of quantitative methodology / analysis andits implications for social work;4. Understand the applicability as well as limitations of statistical testing andstatistical significance for social work practice, research and policy;5. Gain appreciation of the uses of statistical software for data analysis
Values:
1. Appreciate the sensitivities of diverse groups toward notions of generalizability,norms and representativeness in the use of statistics and social indicators;2. Understand the ethical issues involved in the use of measurement based uponthe normal distribution and use of standardized tests;3. Develop sensitivity to use of group data and statistical averages and their effecton disadvantaged and oppressed groups
Skills:
 1. Recognize and accurately interpret statistical symbols;2. Understand mathematical foundations of statistical tests;3. Be able to ask critical questions about the presentation of data\ statistics inreports, presentations, journal articles and in the media;4. Ability to use SPSS software for basic statistical operations;5. Ability to select and apply basic statistical tests to collected data;6. Prepare and present statistical data in clear and concise ways to promoteunderstanding and reasonable, supportable interpretations
 
21.3 Grading and AssignmentsThere will be three quizzes worth ten (10) points each for a total of thirty (30) points. Quizzescover course material in preceding classes prior to the date of the quiz. Students are allowed touse notes and a calculator.There will be two (2) lab assignments worth ten (10) points each for a total of twenty (20) points.Lab assignments (data entry/analysis parts) may be completed in the Bailey Howe library (CyberCafé) or anywhere on campus where SPSS is loaded on computers. Please see summer hoursposted on the UVM website for the hours of operation of the Bailey- Howe library. Students willneed to use computers on campus loaded with current SPSS software as it is prohibitivelyexpensive for most students to buy SPSS themselves. You may be able to download SPSS onyour home computer if you wish to work from home rather than coming to the library (be awarethis is a very large data file and it may overload the memory capacity of your computer). Pleasemake sure you have a current UVM e mail account so you can log in successfully to the oncampus computers. (Note: UVM creates an e mail account for all summer enrolled students. Gotowww.uvm.edu/accountor UVM Computing and Information Technology (Enterprisewebpage) to activate. Your UVM e mail account is the only email address UVM ContinuingEducation and the instructor uses to communicate important information about course changes,cancellations, or other information regarding courses.Some class time will be allotted for lab work. The instructor will allow one and only one re-writeof a lab assignment if necessary. Specific instructions will be given early in the course forcompletion of the lab assignments. In rare instances and with permission of the instructor, extracredit assignments may be jointly planned with the instructor.Each student will be asked to review a peer reviewed journal article, lead a brief class discussionon the article (specifically the results section of the article) and write a brief review of the articlebased upon questions provided by the instructor. This assignment will constitute twenty-five (25)points toward the total points in the class.A final small group (n=2) project on the presentation of data is required. The presentation willinvolve displaying data in a clear and concise format and using technology (e.g., Power Point,SPSS graphics, Excel) to enhance your presentation. Our classroom will be configured with thelatest technology connections but be aware some laptops ( e.g., Macs) may require adaptors towork from class work stations. Students will present in a simulated formal presentation formatand receive feedback directly from their peers and the instructor on form, style and substance of their topic. Exact topics will be discussed in class and guidelines on the display of data provided.This assignment will be worth twenty-five (25) points based upon group participation andcontent.All papers and assignments
must be
turned in by due dates or a penalty of loss of partial or fullgrade point will be assessed by the instructor.

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