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University of Vermont College of Education and Social Services Department of Social Work SWSS 7: Quantitative Methods in Social Work Research Summer 2013 Tues., Thurs. 5:00-8:45 p.m. Location: Lafayette 408 3 credits Instructor: Gary Widrick, Ph.D. Phone: 656-8801 (voice mail) E mail: firstname.lastname@example.org 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 Proverb Where is the wisdom that is buried in the knowledge? Where is the wisdom that is buried in the data? T.S. Elliott From: The Canto of the Rock
COURSE DESCRIPTION OVERVIEW OF THE COURSE
This 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 to multivariate analysis as well as descriptive and inferential statistics. The course content will be discussed conceptually as well as from applied and intuitive perspectives. Each class will cover a 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 for the Social Sciences (SPSS) (Version 19) for data entry and analysis. The goals of the course are three fold: (1.) beginning competence in statistics; (2.) preparing students to use and critique statistical methods in practice and research; and (3.) helping students present statistics clearly and accurately. The course has been accepted by the Department of Social Work as an equivalent course to an intermediate statistics course such as Stat 141. 1.2 Course Objectives
Students who successfully complete the course should be able to demonstrate the following
2 knowledge, 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 and its implications for social work; 4. Understand the applicability as well as limitations of statistical testing and statistical 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 upon the normal distribution and use of standardized tests; 3. Develop sensitivity to use of group data and statistical averages and their effect on 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 in reports, 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 promote understanding and reasonable, supportable interpretations
2 1.3 Grading and Assignments
There will be three quizzes worth ten (10) points each for a total of thirty (30) points. Quizzes cover course material in preceding classes prior to the date of the quiz. Students are allowed to use 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 (Cyber Café) or anywhere on campus where SPSS is loaded on computers. Please see summer hours posted on the UVM website for the hours of operation of the Bailey- Howe library. Students will need to use computers on campus loaded with current SPSS software as it is prohibitively expensive for most students to buy SPSS themselves. You may be able to download SPSS on your home computer if you wish to work from home rather than coming to the library (be aware this is a very large data file and it may overload the memory capacity of your computer). Please make sure you have a current UVM e mail account so you can log in successfully to the on campus computers. (Note: UVM creates an e mail account for all summer enrolled students. Go to www.uvm.edu/account or UVM Computing and Information Technology (Enterprise webpage) to activate. Your UVM e mail account is the only email address UVM Continuing Education 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-write of a lab assignment if necessary. Specific instructions will be given early in the course for completion of the lab assignments. In rare instances and with permission of the instructor, extra credit assignments may be jointly planned with the instructor. Each student will be asked to review a peer reviewed journal article, lead a brief class discussion on the article (specifically the results section of the article) and write a brief review of the article based 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 will involve 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 the latest technology connections but be aware some laptops ( e.g., Macs) may require adaptors to work from class work stations. Students will present in a simulated formal presentation format and 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 and content. All papers and assignments must be turned in by due dates or a penalty of loss of partial or full grade point will be assessed by the instructor.
Code of Conduct
All students will be expected to come to class prepared which includes reading assigned articles for article presentations and text readings. Class participation is also graded (+, -) and can make a difference when a student is on the cusp of two grades (e.g., B+ or A-). So please make yourself heard in class while respecting equal time for your learning colleagues. Students are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that serves to maintain, promote, and enhance the high quality academic environment befitting the University of Vermont. Faculty and students will treat all members of the learning community with respect. Toward this end, they will promote academic discourse and the free exchange of ideas by listening with civil attention to comments made by all individuals. Students and faculty will maintain an appropriate academic climate by refraining from all actions which will disrupt the learning environment (UVM Faculty Senate, 1999). Additionally I request that while in class you turn off all cell phone ringers (including vibrate), refrain from text messaging (including twitting) and lap top non course work (e mail messaging). 2.0 2.1 COURSE METHODS Required Readings
The required text is available from the UVM bookstore in the Dudley Davis Center. Rubin, A. (2013). Statistics for Evidence-Based Practice and Evaluation. Brooks/Cole, Belmont, CA. Additional readings will be posted on Blackboard
COURSE SCHEDULE AND OUTLINE
Introduction to the course Question: Why do social workers need to learn about quantitative methods? Examples of data presentation in social work Self- Efficacy Questionnaire Terminology, language and symbols in statistics Course syllabus & Appendix A- B
Frequency distributions, reading data Levels of measurement Research article assignment Text, Chaps. 1 -5
Tues., 5/28 Introduction to SPSS and Stat Lab (Note: Allan Howard, UVM statistics consultant, will lead class tutorial for the first half of the class in Bailey Howe, Room 123, starting at 4:00 p.m.) (This is in the main campus library Bailey Howe on the first floor, past the reference stacks and toward the back on the right hand side). Readings: Assigned
Measures of central tendency, the normal curve and distribution
Text, Chaps. 6-8
Tues., 6/4 Readings:
Z scores and Research Design text, Chaps. 9,11 Recommended reading Article presentations Sampling and Probability, Hypothesis testing (continued) Quiz # 1 Chap. 10 Article presentation Chi square and Cross Tabs SPSS Lab assignment I Article presentations Text, Chap.20 Chi square and Cross Tabs (cont’d.) Statistical significance Confidence Intervals (See assignment 6/12 above) & Chap. 11 Lab time (Bailey Howe Cyber Café)
Tues., June 11
Readings Thurs., June 13
Tues., June 18 Readings:
Article presentations Inferential Stats & Correlational Methods Quiz # 2 text, Chaps. 12-13,17 Group presentations Lab assignment # 1 due
Thurs.., June 20 T-tests & ANOVA Lab Assignment # 2 Group presentations
text, chaps. 14-15
Tues., June 25 Reading:
Logistic and Multiple Regression Group presentations Text, Chap.18 Quiz # 3 Strength of Stat tests Lab Assignment # 2 due Article review paper due Text, Appendix J-K Course review Course evaluation
Thurs., June 27
Please refer to the UVM Cat’s Tale (student handbook)/UVM Catalogue on line & the Graduate College Catalogue (on UVM Graduate College web page) in regard to policies for academic honesty (including plagiarism). Note: Syllabus is subject to change with notice. This syllabus is for the use of students enrolled in SWSS 7, Quantitative Methods in Social Work
Research at the University of Vermont. It may not be reproduced, published, sold, or posted on an unauthorized web site or otherwise distributed without the prior written permission of the instructor.