PSCI 215 Spring 2015 The Use and Abuse of Statistics in Politics (Q)

Mark Twain popularized an old adage that suggests that statistics can be categorized as a type of lie. Statistics is the study of data collection, assessment, interpretation and presentation. Statistics can be used to inform the public and policy makers about citizens' and denizens' beliefs, preferences, and behaviors. Statistics can and have also been used to bolster weak arguments, to develop counterproductive public policies, and to provide rationale for the benign neglect of citizens on the margins of society. The ultimate goal of this course is to assist students to become aware of inaccurate representations of data. We will begin the course by exploring basic concepts like the meaning of statistically significant, causation versus correlation, question order and wording, and race of interviewer effects. Then we will examine real examples of how good and bad science, alike, has real implications for society.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: class participation, two or three short papers, final examination or presentation
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Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preference: Political Science majors, first year students and sophomores
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Divisional Attributes: Division II, Quantitative and Formal Reasoning
Other Attributes: PSCI American Politics Courses
Enrollment Limit: 19
Expected Enrollment: 10
Class Number: 3592
CLASSES ATTR INSTRUCTORS TIMES CLASS NUMBER
PSCI 215 - 01 (S) SEM Abuse of Stats in Politics (Q) Division 2: Social StudiesQuantitative and Formal Reasoning Cancelled 3592
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