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## Group Activity 1: Introduction to the General Social Survey

Due Date: May 21, 2014
Points: Maximum of 50 point.

This is a collaborate work by all members of the group. Use Groups in BB or social media to
collaborate. Each member of the group will receive the same number of point.

Purpose: To learn how to use the General Social Survey website to get data on peoples opinions on a
wide variety of topics.

Website: http://sda.berkeley.edu/GSS/ - click on GSS - with 'no weight' as the default weight selection

According to their website, The GSS is an almost annual, omnibus, personal interview survey of U.S.
Households conducted by the National Opinion Research Center. The first survey took place in 1972 and
since then more than 38,000 respondents have answered over 3,260 different questions. The mission of
the GSS is to make timely, high-quality, scientifically relevant data available to the social science
research community.

There is a lot of information at this site, and many different ways to access that information. Here we will
explore some of them.

Example to I llustrate
It is simple to get descriptive summaries of data from the General Social Survey (GSS). We'll
demonstrate, using one question asked in recent surveys, On a typical day, about how many
hours do you personally watch television?
* I f this doesn't work, your computer's firewall settings may be restricting access.
Go to the Web site sda.berkeley.edu/GSS.
Click on GSSwith No Weight as the default weight selection.
The GSS name for the number of hours of TV watching is TVHOURS. Type TVHOURS as
the row variable name.
In the Weight menu, make sure that No Weight is selected. Click on Run the Table.

1. Now you'll see a table that shows the number of people and, in bold, the percentage who
made each of the possible responses. For all the years combined in which this question
was asked, the most common response was 2 hours of TV a day (about 27 % made this
response).
a. What percentage of the people surveyed reported watching 4 hours of TV a day?
3.2%
How many people reported watching TV 8 hours a day? 665 people.
b. Another question asked in the GSS is, Taken all together, would you say that you
are very happy, pretty happy, or not too happy? The GSS name for this item is
HAPPY. What percentage of people reported being very happy?
31.6%
c. You might use the GSS to investigate what sorts of people are more likely to be
very happy. Those who are happily married? Those who are in good health?
Those who have lots of friends? Summarize the results that you obtain.

MARRIED and Happy
0 1
ROW
TOTAL
HAPPY
1: VERY HAPPY
21.2
4,828
40.4
11,105
31.6
15,933

Good HEALTH and Happy
1
EXCELLENT
2
GOOD
3
FAIR
4
POOR
ROW
TOTAL
HAPPY
1: VERY HAPPY
46.0
5,381
28.5
4,857
20.6
1,475
17.4
372
31.8
12,085

Friends and HAPPY
1
VERY
HAPPY
2
PRETTY HAPPY
3
NOT
TOO
HAPPY
ROW
TOTAL
FRIEND
1: EXTREMELY LIKELY
65.2
399
60.5
685
59.8
152
61.8
1,236
2: SOMEWHAT LIKELY
24.7
151
26.9
305
29.5
75
26.6
531
3: NOT TOO LIKELY
5.2
32
6.2
70
7.1
18
6.0
120
4: NOT LIKELY AT ALL
4.9
30
6.4
73
3.5
9
5.6
112
COL TOTAL
100.0
612

2. GSS and heaven Go to the General Social Survey Web site, http://sda.berkeley.edu/GSS.
Enter HEAVEN as the row variable and then click Run the Table. When asked whether
or not they believed in heaven, what percentage of those surveyed said yes, definitely;
yes, probably; no, probably not; and no, definitely not? (Data from CSM, UC Berkeley.)

yes, definitely- 64.4%
yes, probably- 20.8%
no, probably not- 8.7%
no, definitely not-5.9%

3. GSS and heaven and hell Refer to exercise 2 above. You can obtain data for a
particular survey year such as 2008 by entering YEAR(2008) in the Selection Filter
option box before you click on Run the Table.
a. Do this for HEAVEN in 2008, giving the percentages for the four possible
outcomes.
yes, definitely- 64.3%
yes, probably- 20.8%
no, probably not- 8.8%
no, definitely not-6%

b. Summarize opinions in 2008 about belief in hell (row variable HELL). Was the
percentage of yes, definitely responses higher for belief in heaven or in hell?

yes, definitely- 52.6%
yes, probably- 20.3%
no, probably not- 14.8%
no, definitely not-12.3%

The percentage of yes definitely was higher for Heaven.

4. Draft. We will analyze attitudes towards the drafting of college students into military
service.
a. On the list on the left side look for Military Issues and expand the list, then
expand The Draft.
b. How many different questions appear under the subject Draft?
10

c. What is the codename (mnemonic) of the variable that asks if college students
should be exempt from the draft?
DRAFTCOL
the draft?
DRAFT
e. Enter this codename on the box where it says Row and on the box next to Control
type year. Then click on Run the Table at the bottom. Look at the results and
1982,1983,1984,2006
the draft in 2006?
237
the draft in 2006?
16%

5. Topical Modules. This list groups the variables by Modules of a particular topic,
including the year the questions were asked. We will analyze Adult Transitions in 2002:
a. Using the list on the left side of the screen, scroll down to 2002 Topical Module:
Adult Transitions and click on it to open the book.
b. Type each of the variables below on the box next to Row, then click on Run the Table
at the bottom to see the results. Define the following variables:
QUAN-finind YOUNG SHOULB BE FINANCIALLY
INDEPENDENT
QUAN-finind1 AGED SHOULD BE FINANCIALLY
INDEPENDENT
CATEGORICAL-ownhh YOUNG SHOULD NOT LIVE WITH
PARENTS
CATEGORICAL- ownhh1 AGED SHOULD STOP LIVING WITH
PARENTS
CATEGORICAL-getmar YOUNG SHOULD GET MARRIED
CATEGORICAL-getmar1 AGED SHOULD GET MARRIED
c. Of the variables above, which ones are categorical and which ones are quantitative?
ABOVE

6. Codebooks. On this list you can quickly find the question you want, if you know the
codename used by GSS. Here we will analyze the variable SHOPFOOD:
a. On the top menu bar select Codebooks, then Standard Codebooks. Select
Alphabetical Variable List. Find and select the variable SHOPFOOD.
b. What is the text of the question?
1306 In your household who does the following things: d.shop for groceries.

c. This question was not asked of every respondent values of 0 indicate they were
not asked. Furthermore, this question only applies to people who are married or
living as married. What is the total number of respondents? Of those, how many
should really be counted when analyzing the data?
N=55087. Counted=813
d. Compute the percentage of respondents who are married or living as married
who said it is usually the woman who shops for groceries in their household
using the denominator you determined above?
262/813=32.23%

7. GSS for subject you pick At the GSS Web site, click on Standard Codebook under
Codebooks and then on Sequential Variable List. Find two subjects that interest you as a
group and look up a relevant GSS code name to enter as the row variable. Write a short
report to summarize the results that you obtain.
MARITAL-Marital Status. This table shows the marital status of most of the people.
54.2% are married, 9.8% widowed, 12.3%divorced,3.5% separated, 20.3% Never
Married.
AGEWED- Age when first married. This table shows the ages of people when they got
first married. Mostly people got married for the first time at the age of 21.