Data Analysis

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
SECS-S/01 SPS/07
Learning objectives
The entire course is built upon three main aims: 1) to provide students with a complete and detailed overview of the main phases and techniques of social research; 2) to give students the essential elements which are needed to read, understand and interpret social facts starting from empirical-based observations; 3) to provide students with the essential skills to think, asses and create original empirical analyses based on organized data bases.
In order to achieve this, particular emphasis will be given to the understanding of the procedures leading to research results, to the ability to critically asses the reliability of such procedures, and to the choice of the most appropriate techniques to achieve research objectives. Moreover, a strong methodological approach will be stressed in order to help students to follow both very practical courses as well as to develop the appropriate skills which are needed in more professional environments (software, techniques).
Together, these main objectives will be achieved by relying on a mix of classes and laboratory sessions, where students will be stimulated to critically apply the knowledges gained during the course.
Expected learning outcomes
By the end of the course, students will be able to understand the basic elements of empirical researches in the social sciences field, together with their specificities as well as with their main strengths and weaknesses. Moreover, students will acquire a deep knowledge of both the research design and its implementation, together with a detailed comprehension of the different elements underlying the different procedures such as concepts, theories, hypotheses (knowledge and comprehension).
While doing this, students will be continuously stimulated to apply in a critical, practical, and original way all the knowledges developed during the course. This will be achieved by means of laboratory sessions and autonomous and group exercises. Therefore, by the end of the course students will be able to create and present a small piece of original research mainly following the examples presented during the course itself (applying knowledge and comprehension).
In doing so, students must pay attention to the presentation of their works. Indeed, they will be asked to choose and motivate among the most suitable and efficient ways (maps, graphs) to achieve a communicative goal (ability to communicate the knowledge). This aspect is crucial given that the student themselves will be the main recipients, and therefore the main reviewers, of their presentations. This will result in a dialectic exercise following the typical structure of a conference (judgment and critical thinking). It comes with this that both the hard and soft skills that students will develop will help them in autonomously continuing their studies and their job careers (ability to autonomously continue studying).
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First trimester
In light of the measures related to the health emergency, teaching methods and methods of verifying learning are modified as described below. Prerequisites, program and reference material remain the same.
Teaching takes place for four hours (consecutive in presence) and for two hours remotely on the MS Teams platform. The teaching is therefore divided into two days dedicated to two different moments:
1. LESSON (two hours at a distance): illustration of the weekly syllabus with indication of the topics and sources: short recorded lessons + slides + texts. The material is simultaneously made available to students.
2. EXERCISES (four consecutive hours in attendance): exercises with STATA, receptions for the production of a group presentation. Exercise phases: instructions, development, correction.
The final evaluation adds up the following items:
* intermediate and final writing (0-15 points)
* Correction of exercises related to exercises (0-10 points)
* Group presentation (0-5 points)
For non-attending students the writing does not undergo changes but is administered in the presence. Students can apply well in advance to support it remotely in Moodle + SEB + MS Teams mode.
Course syllabus
* Introduction to the course
* Types of variables and their properties
* Monovariate analysis: frequency tables, central trend measures, variability, missing cases
* Sampling, basic principles
* Bivariate analysis: contingency tables, ANOVA, correlation

* Linear regression: intensity of the effect, predictive power, independent categorical variables
* Multivariate regression: control variables, spurious effects, indirect effects

* Introduction to measurement
* Indices and types
* Trustworthiness
* Validity
Prerequisites for admission
No prior knowledge is required.
Teaching methods
The course is complemented by a series of exercises on the STATA data analysis program.
A group presentation of a data analysis work is also planned.
Teaching Resources
Piergiorgio Corbetta, Giancarlo Gasperoni, Maurizio Pisati, Statistica per la ricerca sociale, il Mulino, Bologna, 2001: capp. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10.
Further references will be provided during the course.

Piergiorgio Corbetta, Giancarlo Gasperoni, Maurizio Pisati, Statistica per la ricerca sociale, il Mulino, Bologna, 2001.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The final grade is based on a
a) intermediate test (which covers the topics of the first module and is only practical on the STATA data analysis program)
b) final test (second and third module topics, consisting of practical exercises and open questions)
c) group presentation
To obtain and maintain the attendance status, at least 80% of the lessons must be followed and the intermediate test must be sufficient (2 possibilities).

Single exam structured in 3 open questions and 20 multiple choice questions (it lasts 60 min).
SECS-S/01 - STATISTICS - University credits: 6
SPS/07 - GENERAL SOCIOLOGY - University credits: 3
Lessons: 60 hours
Educational website(s)
Tuesday, 16.30-19.30 (for any changes please refer to the personal web page)
Dipartimento di Scienze Sociali e Politiche, via Passione building, second floor, room 204
By appointment stanza 302