What do social statistics and economic data really reveal?
Increasingly, we’re bombarded with all sorts of data about how society is changing. From opinion poll trends and migration data to economic results and government debt levels.
On this course from the Sheffield Methods Institute at University of Sheffield, we’ll look at ways of cutting through the confusion to decide what numbers reveal, when and why they (sometimes deliberately) mislead and determine what is ‘fake news.’
What topics will you cover?
- Recognising the ‘size’ of numbers that are reported in the media.
- How change and risk are reported.
- How social statistics are created, paying particular attention to survey data.
- What we can learn from census categories.
- The different ways that surveys can be conducted and the impact that different formats can have on the results.
- How to draw a representative sample from a population.
- Sources of measurement error in surveys.
- Measuring sensitive or difficult subjects.
- Checking whether data is trustworthy by reviewing the methodology.
- How to calculate the Margin of Sampling Error (MoSE).
- The difference between correlation and causation.
- Where to find existing sources of data.
- How to develop a quantitative research project.
What will you achieve?
By the end of the course, you'll be able to...
- Become a critical consumer of data in the media.
- Explain how social statistics are created.
- Evaluate data to make informed decisions about which results to trust.
- Design a quantitative research project.
Who is the course for?
This course is open to anyone who wants to know how to make sense of social statistics and economic data in the media.
It will be particularly useful to first-year undergraduate students studying social science, as well as school leavers who are thinking about taking a social science or quantitative social science degree.
This school offers programs in:
Last updated November 12, 2017