Fundamentals Of Statistics: Chapter 1

Term Definition
What is statistics? A set of procedures used by social scientists to organize, summarize, and communicate information.
What is data? Information represented by numbers, which can be the subject of statistical analysis.
What are the steps 5 in the Research Process? Formulate a Hypothesis, Collect data, Analyze the Data, Evaluate the Hypothesis, and Ask the Research Question.
What is the research process? It is a set of activities in which social scientists engage to answer questions, examine ideas, or test theories.
What is empirical Research? Research is based on evidence that can be verified by using our direct experience.
What can we not rely on when conducting empirical research? Reasoning, speculation, moral judgment, or subjective preference.
What is a theory? An explanation of the relationship between two or more observable attributes of individual or groups.
What is a Hypotheses? A tentative answer to a research problem.
What are the building blocks that make up a hypothesis? Variables.
What are variables? The property of people or objects that takes on two or more values.
What does it mean when a variable has been exhaustive? It means that there should be enough categories composing the variables to classify every observation.
What does it mean when a variable is mutually exclusive? Refers to the need to classify every observation into one and only one category.
What are the two types of variables? Dependent and independent.
What is a dependent variable? The variable to be explained (the "effect")
What is an independent variable? The variable expected to account for (the "cause" of) the dependent variable.
Which variable comes first? The independent is followed by the dependent, the "cause" has an "effect."
What are three conditions which a cause and effect relationship must meet? The cause has to precede the effect in time; there has to be an empirical relationship between the cause and effect; and the relationship cannot be explained by other factors.
What are the four levels of measurement? Nominal, Ordinal, and Interval-Ratio (which is typically combined, but are actually two separate levels of measurement)
What is a nominal variable? Numbers or other symbols that are assigned to a set of categories for the purpose of naming, labeling, or classifying observations (i.e. colors, sex). There is no quantitative difference between the variables. These are simply names.
What is a ordinal variable? A level of measurement that ranks the categories from high to low (i.e. education level, social class). You can rank order and you can distinguish between them.
What is an Interval-Ratio variable? A level of measurement is used when the categories are rank ordered and we can measure the difference between each category. There is a natural zero in interval-ratio level. (ex. SAT scores, sales, and other test scores).
What is a discrete variable? They have a minimum sized unit of measurement, which cannot be subdivided (ex. the number of children a person has. One cannot have 2.5 children)
What is a Continuous variable? They do not have a minimum sized unit of measurement; their range of values can be subdivided into increasingly smaller fractional values. (ex. weight, height, and age)
What is the mode? It is the category/number used most frequently.
What is the median? It is the middle.
Which variables utilize a mean, median and/or mode? Interval-Ratio: Mean, median and mode
Ordinal: Median and mode
Nominal: Mode
Which variables are considered discrete variables? All nominal and ordinal variables are discrete.
What are descriptive statistics? Describes the type of the statistics that were found. They are procedures that help us organize and describe data collected. (sample or population)
What are inferential statistics? Involves the logic and procedures concerned with making predictions or inferences about a population from observations and analyses of a sample.
What is a population? The total set of individuals, objects, groups, or events in which the researcher is interested.
What is a sample? A relatively small subset selected from a population to study.
What is the GSS? The General Social Survey

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