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SOAA 3444 Syllabus

Course Syllabus

SOAA 3444 - Data Analysis

3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

Instruction on the use of SPSS for Windows and/or other software packages for analyzing social science via statistics, with an emphasis on interpretation and application.

Course Outcomes:
This course will:
  • Demonstrate the role of technology in a strong social research program.
  • Provide a basic background in the use and capabilities of the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences for Windows.
  • Enable the student to use SPSS for Windows to analyze and manipulate social data, to interpret results and to compose research reports.
The student will learn to:
  • Form research questions about society and select appropriate scientific methods of answering these questions.
  • Collect survey data and enter it into SPSS.
  • Use SPSS to analyze the data.
  • Create charts and graphs.
  • Prepare a report that summarizes data and addresses a research question. 
Prerequisites & Co-requisites:

MATH 1080 or a comparable course will ensure that the student has been introduced to the basic tenets of statistics.

Course Topics:

This course dedicates one unit to each of the following topics. Since both computer and statistical knowledge builds on itself, the units should be completed in the order presented:

  • Course Orientation Basics of Sociology, test taking, homework completion, success in the 3444 course
  • Social Research Basics of the scientific method as used in social science
  • History of Technology The development of technological tools used in social science research
  • Introduction to SPSS SPSS functions and capabilities
  • Data Entry Beginning data management
  • Univariate Statistics First look at categorical and continuous data
  • Data Transformation Transforming data and limiting analyses
  • Bivariate Statistics Commonly used procedures for examining the relationship between two variables
  • Simple and Multivariate Linear Regression The most commonly used multivariate analysis in sociology
  • Logistic Regression Expanding linear regression to the analysis of categorical dependent variables
  • The Research Report Presenting research design, analysis and conclusions
Specific Course Requirements:

This course is designed to familiarize the student with the use of the SPSS for Windows software package for analyzing social science data. The focus is on selecting and using appropriate statistical methods to analyze data to answer questions about society. [Since this course falls under the purview of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, from time to time sociological examples of social research may be used. Thorough knowledge of sociological literature on the part of the student is not, however, required.]

Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements

Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course. Move your cursor over the "Books" link in the navigation bar and select "Textbooks & Course Materials." Select your Program, Term, Department, and Course; then select "Submit."

Supplementary Materials:

As listed below, access to SPSS studentware or full version will be required.

Hardware and Software Requirements:

Minimum hardware requirements can be found here.

Minimum software requirements can be found here.

Common applications you might need:

Web Resources:

Purdue OWL Online Writing Lab (for APA, MLA, or Chicago style)

The Writing Center Online Writer's Handbook

Student Resources:
  • Technical support information can be found on the TN eCampus Help Desk page.
  • Smarthinking virtual tutoring is available FREE of charge. to access Smarthinking, visit the course homepage and select Smarthinking under Course Resources. You also view sample sessions to see what Smarthinking offers and how it works.
  • Information on other student issues or concerns can be located on the TN eCampus Student Resources page.

Instructor Information

Please see "Instructor Information" in the Getting Started Module for instructor contact information, virtual office hours, and other communication information. You can expect to receive a response from the instructor within 24-48 hours unless notified of extenuating circumstances.

Participation, Assessments, & Grading

Testing Procedures:

There will be one proctored exam in this course, which will be the midterm exam. This exam will cover text and lecture materials, and will include a computer portion.

The student is responsible for securing an appropriate proctor for the midterm exam per TN eCampus proctoring guidelines at   Do so well in advance, as you can not access the midterm exam without your proctor having secured the test access information. Please have your proposed proctor contact me at least two weeks prior to the exam date.

If you do not have a local campus Testing Center, please begin with your  TN eCampus contact, who may have suggestions or may proctor exams him/herself. Acceptable proctors may also include other professionals, including pastors, librarians, principals, local teachers, or other university personnel.

Contact your instructor well in advance to arrange for alternate proctors.

Grading Procedures:

Because this course teaches students to select, conduct and report statistical analyses (see course objectives above), students will be evaluated on their ability to do so. This means that assignments require students to not only crunch numbers using SPSS, but also to consider how the analysis contributes to knowledge about some research question.


Homework exercises allow students to practice their newfound skills and receive feedback from the instructor. A timed midterm exam tests overall command of course information. A final project, in place of a final exam, requires the student to put all course lessons together in constructing and conducting social research with minimal input from the instructor.


It is important to note that letter grades are intended to be reflective of performance. While it is not important in this course that student grades fall into a perfect normal distribution (with mostly Cs and very few As and Fs), it is crucial that students keep in mind that a C represents acceptable work. C means you have completed everything required of you at an acceptable, average level; Bs and Ds represent work somewhat above and below average; and As and Fs represent work a great deal above or below average. Keep that in mind!

Grading Scale:

90-100   ---A
80-89 ---B
70-79 ---C
60-69 ---D
Below 60 ---Exercises 40% of grade
Exam 30% of grade
Final Project 30% of grade

Assignments and Projects:

Exercise 1: History of Technology Unit (see calendar for due date), 10%
Exercise 2: Univariate Procedures Unit (see calendar for due date), 10%
Midterm  Exam:  30%
Exercise 3: Bivariate Procedures Unit (see calendar for due date), 10%
Exercise 4: Linear Regression Unit (see calendar for due date), 10%
Final Project: Research Report Unit (see calendar for due date), 30% 

Class Participation:

Discussion boards are provided to allow you to interact with other class members. Answers to frequently asked questions and other helpful hints or clarifications will also be posted on the discussion board, so be sure to check them often.

The due dates and times are also cut-off times. Cut-off dates are listed in the assignment dropbox and on the course calendar, and once the submission date is passed the assignment is no longer accessible. Homework and exam grades will be reported promptly. 

Late Policy:

It is important that you keep your eye on the course calendar so that you pace yourself appropriately and do not miss due dates.  Learning in this class in incremental, and builds as the term progresses. If you fall behind, not only will you jeopardize your assignment grades, but it will be very hard to move on to later assignments without mastering earlier ones.

Course Ground Rules

The following two statements (1., 2.) were derived from the TBR System-wide Student Rules document, released January 2012:


Read the document in its entirety here.

1. Standards of Conduct:

  • Students are required to adhere to the same professional, legal and ethical standards of conduct online as on campus. In addition, students should conform to generally accepted standards of "netiquette" while sending e-mail, posting comments to the discussion board, and while participating in other means of communicating online. Specifically, students should refrain from inappropriate and/or offensive language, comments and actions.

2. Review the TN eCampus Academic Integrity/Academic Honesty Policy:

  • In their academic activities, students are expected to maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. Academic dishonesty is prohibited.

Such conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • an attempt by one or more students to use unauthorized information in the taking of an exam
  • to submit as one's own work, themes, reports, drawings, laboratory notes, computer programs, or other products prepared by another person,
  • or to knowingly assist another student in obtaining or using unauthorized materials.

Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited.

Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly through participation or assistance, are subject to disciplinary action through the regular procedures of the student’s home institution.  Refer to the student handbook provided by your home institution to review the student conduct policy.

In addition to other possible disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed, the instructor has the authority to assign an "F" or zero for an activity or to assign an "F" for the course.

Other Course Rules:

Students are expected to:

  • Participate in all aspects of the course
  • Communicate with other students
  • Learn how to navigate in Brightspace
  • Keep abreast of course announcements
  • Use the assigned course management (Brightspace) email address rather than a personal email address
  • Address technical problems immediately:
  • Observe course netiquette at all times.

Guidelines for Communications


  • Always include a subject line.
  • Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Respect the privacy of other class members


  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other’s ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.


The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in TN eCampus programs and courses. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading will be included within the course modules. To access the Virtual Library, go to the course homepage and select the Virtual Library link under Course Resources.

Students with Disabilities

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary academic accommodations if determined eligible by the appropriate disability services staff at their home institution. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility for specific accommodations from the disability services staff at the home institution. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with their home institution's disability services staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the right to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.


The information contained in this syllabus is for general information purposes only. While we endeavor to keep this information up-to-date and accurate, there may be some discrepancies between this syllabus and the one found in your online course. The syllabus of record is the one found in your online course. Please make sure you read the syllabus in your course at the beginning of the semester. Questions regarding course content should be directed to your instructor.

Last Revised on May 16, 2017