Workshop and discussion exercises

Practice with these exercises to prepare for your seminars and wider research.

1. Choose any article or book that reports the results of a qualitative research study. What sort of causal propositions does the author assume to be true? What sort of causal arguments are contained in the text? How could these be tested in quantitative data analysis? What would the independent and dependent variables be?

2. Examine this table in the slide that follows this one. Imagine it is a zero-order table. Draw hypothetical conditional or first-order tables that you might expect to find by entering the test variable of income, measured as low or high. The pairs of tables should, in turn, illustrate:
(a) the existence of a spurious or intervening relationship between social class and home ownership
(b) replication of the original relationship
(c) specification of the original relationship
(d) suppression of a stronger relationship

3. Complete this exercise, Multiple Regression and the British Crime Survey (2007–2008): Worry About Crime and Confidence in the Police, to introduce you to multiple regression. Full instructions and downloadable data, which you can analyse with SPSS or other statistical software programs, are located on this site.

4. Use SPSS to analyse a statistical data set. Use data transformations (e.g. Compute or Recode) as well as univariate, bivariate and multivariate statistical procedures to investigate the data. Try to pursue an argument, hypothesis or research question in your analysis, considering counter-arguments to yours and dealing with these, where possible, with further data analysis.

You can find data sets in data archives. Here are some to explore:
(a) Australia Data Archive
(b) Finnish Social Science Data Archive
(c) The National Archives of Canada – Ottawa, Ontario
(d) The UK Data Archive
(e) UK Data Service
(f) Statistics New Zealand Data Archive
(g) The Roper Center, Public Opinion Research Archive (USA)
(h) Inter-University Consortium for Social and Political Research
(i) Henry A. Murray Research Archive