Statistics for Social Science

Engage with data’ and its use in understanding and influencing social phenomena

This is one of the two Social Science major courses that our students will do in the second semester of their study. Its purpose is to introduce students to basic statistics that will enable them to engage with a range of quantitative methods used in social sciences. The course is pitched at an introductory level, assuming no prior exposure to formal statistics. The broad mandate of the course is to have students engage with data’ and its use in understanding and influencing social phenomena. It will prompt them to understand why governments or other agencies collect data and how data is collected. They will also get to look at a range of different datasets, learn to compute and interpret basic summary statistics, and represent data in a graphical manner, using the programming language R. Using examples and data from proximate empirical contexts, such as our university’s admission data, designing campus-based sample surveys, etc., the course is designed such that by the end of it, students would have enough comfort with and understanding of basic statistical techniques. These techniques could be brought to bear both on quantitative analysis in future courses as well as to make sense of data — its production, analysis and use in society.