WKSX – SOCY – Part Three

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I. Personal Inventory and Comparison to Group Data


(1) Access the list using Berkeley University’s Survey Documentation and Analysis (GSS/SDA) data to analyze confidence in social institutions and attitudes about social problems. Be sure to closely follow Part 1 through 3 of these instructions.

(2) Present your analysis in a 3-4 page double-spaced paper using the following organizational format:

1. Introduction: Briefly discuss the relationship between values and how they affect attitudes about social institutions and societal concerns.

2. Body/Analysis: Describe trends or changes in those issues you have chosen from the data. Be sure to include the most recent data that runs up to 2016 in your report. See the section on “presenting the analysis” below for more specific instructions.

3. Compare your values to survey findings from the SDA data for issues/behavior/activities that are relevant to your values. In what ways are these findings from a national sample of Americans relevant to your values?

4. Summary: Present the highlights of your analysis or what you consider to be the major findings of your analysis.

Note: Remember that a variable is the social issue, and belief that sociologists are studying. There are two categories of variables: Independent Variables or Dependent Variables.

  • The Independent Variable changes or affects the value or level of a Dependent Variable.
  • The Dependent Variable is affected or changed by the Independent Variable.

In this assignment, the Year that the survey data was collected is the Independent Variable. You will be comparing changes in survey responses for specific issues, or beliefs from year to year.

II. To access Berkeley’s SDA data sets:

  • Either click on the link below or cut and paste the url in your browser: http://sda.berkeley.edu/sdaweb/analysis/?dataset=gss16 This will bring you to the data access page. At the top of the left hand margin there is a section entitled: “Variable Selection”.
  • Next to the word “selected” type: Year. Click on Col (column) next to “Copy to:” The word Year will appear in the box for column. You will always put Year in the column for all of the analysis with these data.

Choose the heading “Social Concerns”. Then choose the subheading “confidence in institutions”

  • Scroll down the variable list to societal concerns and click on “>” next to it, choose “confidence in institutions”.
  • Click on a specific institution such as business and finance.
  • Go back up to “Variable Selection” and click next to “row”. The title of the concern should appear in the window next to row.
  • Click on “Run the Table” at the bottom of the page. A table should appear that provides percentages from 1972 – 2016 for survey responses to your chosen dependent variable.

Repeat the steps above by clicking on the heading “Attitudinal Measures” and the sub-heading “Social Problems Spending Variant 1”. Choose two variables from the list and analyze the tables that appear.

In your narrative answer the question: Does confidence in the institution chosen have any relationship to the attitude about the two areas of social problem spending chosen for analysis?

*In cross-tabulation tables the Independent variable always goes in the columns. The dependent variable always goes in the rows.

Please note! Navigating the variable sets, and using the survey data, will take time and practice.

Take time to familiarize yourself with the SDA site and to become more comfortable with the data-sets.

When navigating the data-sets and using the survey data be sure to note the date of each percentage for your paper. Your analysis should be written in complete sentences like any other narrative. Please take time to familiarize yourself with the GSS/SDA website and current data available in the data sets.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Focus on using tables that run to 2017. Findings that are decades old -anything dated before 2010 are too old to tell us much about the American respondents perspectives.

III. Presenting your analysis (3-4 page double-spaced paper):

Analysis involves reporting percentages not the raw numbers in the tables. You also need to provide the headings and sub-headings used in the database where you found the table relevant to your values. Here is an example of the way to present your analysis:

EXAMPLE: “Under Controversial Issues (main GSS survey heading); confidence in institutions (sub-heading-1) confidence in CONGRESS (sub-heading -2).

Averaging percentages over the 41 years:

In 2016 only 5.5% of people have a great deal of confidence in congress as compared to an average of 9% since 1973.

You can also take the highest percentage over the course of the data collection period (1972-2016) and the lowest reporting “a great deal of confidence: in congress. You do not need to average the percentages. But you must report the date for each percentage. Find the responses to issues that make your point about your value(s) in reference to attitudes reported by a national sample of Americans.

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