Critical Reading of Statistical Data

Course convenor

Léna Pellandini-Simányi

Course content

Scholarly arguments supported by numbers and statistics are often regarded as unquestionable truth. However, the production and interpretation of statistics involves a number of subjective choices that substantially affect the final outcome. This course introduces students to these choices and enables them to read statistical arguments critically. The seminars address the politics involved in formulating a research question, issues of sampling, interpretation of results and generalizability. In the first half of the course students will carry out their own quantitative project in order to become familiar with the steps of the research process and the problems that arise at each stage. In the second part of the course students will critically analyze research publications.

Indicative reading

Babbie, Earl R. (1986). The practice of social research. Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth Pub. Co.

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