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Examine the differences between descriptive and inferential statistics and their use in the social sciences.

Final Portfolio Assignment (Due Week 7)


One of the most crucial components of this course is developing a research project from conceptualizing a research problem and develop a number of complementary design, measurement, and data collection approaches to bring evidence to bear on the problem.  Throughout the class, you created a research study based on publicly available data from the General Social Survey (GSS).  You chose data which were representative of your interests and satisfied your research question and hypotheses.

This Assignment meets these course objectives:

  1. Describe and apply the concepts and logic of elementary statistics.
  2. Conduct statistical analysis in SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences).
  3. Compare and contrast different types of data and the statistics that can be used to analyze them
  4. Examine the differences between descriptive and inferential statistics and their use in the social sciences.
  5. Form critical interpretations of quantitative research literature in sociology and other social sciences.
  6. Complete and interpret descriptive and inferential statistical data analysis
  7. Critically evaluate the quality of research design and evidence in published social research.


The Final Portfolio Assignment is where you pull together the research you’ve been working on the first seven weeks of class.  Using your weekly Forum posts, and the feedback from your classmates and instructor on your posts, construct a 6-8 page paper that fully explores your research topic in a way that provides the context and explanation surrounding the analyses provided in the paper.  Your professor is looking to see whether you understand what you are writing about, not simply going through the motions.

Citing literature about your research topic, be sure to set the stage for the data and analyses that you present.  Briefly describe the General Social Survey as your survey instrument.  Provide the questions, verbatim, that were asked in the survey which became the variable which you chose to use.  You will also need to include the answer choices for each of them.  This portion can be a table if you choose.  Clearly identify and explain your hypothesis and the five steps of hypothesis testing as they apply to your paper.  Share and explain frequency table(s), crosstabs, and histograms or graphing to describe your data.  Using the statistical tests you ran each week in class (correlation, t-test, etc.), present the tests and your findings.  Explain the results of the statistical tests and pull in some literature to provide context, demonstrating how your results and research fit into the larger body of literature on this topic.  Be sure to use proper APA formatting for citations and references. However, you do not need to include an abstract or table of contents.  You can find guidance in APA by clicking here to access the Purdue Online Writing Lab.

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