Social statistics


Social statistics

Social statistics is the use of statistical measurement systems to study human behavior in a social environment. This can be accomplished through polling a particular group of people, evaluating a particular subset of data obtained about a group of people, or by observation and statistical analysis of a set of data that relates to people and their behaviors.

Often, social scientists are employed in the evaluation of the quality of services of a particular group or organization, in analyzing behaviors of groups of people in their environment and special situations, or even in determining the wants or needs of people through statistical sampling.

tatistics in the Social Sciences

Statistics and statistical analyses have become a key feature of contemporary social science. Statistics is and has been perhaps most important in economics and psychology that have incorporated and relied primarily on statistical analyses as a method of argument for decades.

Recently, the use of advanced statistical analyses have become popular among the "soft" social sciences such as political science, sociology and anthropology. There is, however, currently a heated debate regarding the questionable uses and value of statistical methods in social science, especially in political science, with many important statisticians questioning the often broad policy conclusions of political scientists who often misrepresent or misunderstand the limited interpretive power that non-robust statistical methods such as simple and multiple linear regression allow. Indeed, an important mantra that social scientists cite, but often forget, is that "correlation does not imply causation."

The use of statistics has become so widespread in the social sciences that many top universities such as Harvard, have developed institutes focusing on "quantitative social science." Harvard's [http://www.iq.harvard.edu/ Institute for Quantitative Social Science] focuses mainly on fields like political science that are only now beginning to incorporate advanced causal statistical models that Bayesian methods provide.

tatistical Methods in Social Sciences

A number of methods, techniques and concepts have been developed or extensively used in various branches of quantitative social sciences. Those include, in no particular order:

* Structural Equation Modeling and factor analysis
* Multilevel models
* Cluster analysis
* Latent class models
* Item response theory
* Survey methodolgy and survey sampling

ocial Science Statistics Centers

* [http://www.iq.harvard.edu/ Harvard Institute for Quantitative Social Science]
* [http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/ Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research]
* [http://www.csss.washington.edu/ Center for Statistics and Social Sciences, University of Washington]
* [http://www2.irss.unc.edu/irss/home.asp Odum Institute for Research in Social Sciences, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill]
* [http://www.socsci.soton.ac.uk/socstats/ Social Statistics at University of Southampton, UK]
* [http://www.socialsciencestatistics.com/ Social Science Statistics Center, University of Missouri, Columbia] (see also their [http://www.socialsciencestatistics.com/index.php?option=com_weblinks&catid=17&Itemid=22 links section] )
* [http://www.arts.auckland.ac.nz/departments/index.cfm?P=8770 Social Statistics Research Group, University of Auckland, New Zealand]

tatistical Databases for Social Science

Cross Disciplinary

* [http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/ Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research]
* [http://unstats.un.org/unsd/demographic/products/socind/ UN Statistics Division- Demographic and Social Statistics]
* [http://www.oecd.org/home/0,2987,en_2649_201185_1_1_1_1_1,00.html Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD)]

Labor Statistics

* [http://www.bls.gov US Bureau of Labor Statistics]
* [http://laborsta.ilo.org/ International Labour Organisation- LABORSTA]
* [http://www.laborresearch.org/econ_stats.php Labor Research Association] - Statistics for Labor Economics
* [http://www.law.harvard.edu/programs/lwp/unionstats.html Labor and Worklife Program- Labor Stats] at Harvard Law School
* [http://www.unionstats.com/ Unionstats.com]

ee also

* List of statistical packages

Further reading

*Irvine, John, Miles, Ian, Evans, Jeff, (editors), "Demystifying Social Statistics ", London : Pluto Press, 1979. ISBN 0861040694


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