Quantitative research consists of testing and understanding relationships between variables. Researchers construct these variables as measureable expressions of social phenomena. Modern statistics provides you with a host of resources to answer questions, but each statistical test has a set of assumptions regarding the measurement of the variables. It is therefore important to understand how variables are measured because their measurement will influence the type of analytic tools available to you.
SPSS is a statistical software program that allows you to enter these variables into a spreadsheet format and record the measurements from a sample. Additionally, SPSS allows you to perform statistical analysis. Before launching into your analyses, though, it is important to understand how the variables are measured. That understanding will help you interpret the SPSS output.
In this week’s Discussion, you considered topics with social change implications. For this Assignment, you will examine data to analyze independent and dependent variables, determine how they are measured, and decipher whether a social change question can be answered and the implications for such change.
To prepare for this Assignment:
- Review the Learning Resources as well as the SPSS resources found in this week’s Learning Resources.
- Review, download, and install the SPSS software on your computer using the IBM SPSS Installation and Registration document for PC or for MAC in this week’s Learning Resources.
- Using the SPSS software, open the Afrobarometer dataset or the High School Longitudinal Study dataset (whichever you choose) found in this week’s Learning Resources and then choose two variables that interest you.
For this Assignment:
Write a 1- to 2-page summary and include the following:
- A description of what the each of the variables measure.
- A description of the unit of analysis.
- A description and explanation of the levels of measurement for each variable (i.e., nominal, ordinal, interval, ratio).
- Explain how you might conceive these variables to be used to answer a social change question. What might be the implications for social change?