Research Methods Exercises Using the 2018 Monitoring the Future Survey of High School Seniors and SDA (Survey Documentation and Analysis)



Exercise 1 - Research Design
Exercise 2 - Sampling
Exercise 3 - Measurement
Exercise 4 - Data Collection
Exercise 5 - Hypotheses and Hypothesis Testing
Exercise 6 - Introduction to Data Analysis
Exercise 7 - Central Tendency and Dispersion
Exercise 8 - Graphs and Charts
Exercise 9 - Crosstabulation
Exercise 10 - Chi-Square
Exercise 11 - Measures of Association
Exercise 12 - Spuriousness
Exercise 13 - Writing Research Reports
Appendix A - Introduction to SDA
Appendix B - Notes to Instructors     

Author: Ed Nelson
Department of Sociology M/S SS97
California State University, Fresno
Fresno, CA 93740

© The Author, 2019

Text file - download and save in MS Word format.

These thirteen exercises were written for an introductory research methods course.  The first exercise focuses on the research design which is your plan of action that explains how you will try to answer your research questions.  Exercises two through four focus on sampling, measurement, and data collection.  The fifth exercise discusses hypotheses and hypothesis testing.  The last eight exercises focus on data analysis. 

These exercises use one of the Monitoring the Future Surveys (i.e., the 2018 survey of high school seniors in the United States).  This data set is part of the collection at the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research at the University of Michigan.  The data are freely available to the public and you do not have to be a member of the Consortium to use the data.  If you are a student, faculty member or staff at a university or college that belongs to the ICPSR, you will have access to all the archive’s data holdings.  If you are not, then you will only have access to public-use data.  Fortunately, the Monitoring the Future 12 Grade Surveys were funded for public access so you have access to these surveys regardless of your status.

We’re going to use SDA (Survey Documentation and Analysis) to analyze the data which is an online statistical package written by the Survey Methods Program at UC Berkeley and is available without cost wherever one has an internet connection.  A weight variable is automatically applied to the data set so it better represents the population from which the sample was selected. 

The exercises were written so each exercise is independent of the others and any one exercise can be used even if the other exercises are not used. Because the exercises were written to stand alone there is often duplication across the exercises. If you use several of the exercises together you may want to edit them to remove this duplication or add material of your own.

These exercises are not a comprehensive treatment of the statistical techniques covered. They do not discuss how to compute most of the statistics. You may want to add some of this information to the exercises.

You have permission to use these exercises and to revise them to fit your needs. I would appreciate receiving a copy of your revision so I can see how the exercises are being used. If you find any errors in the exercise, please email me and I will correct them. I would also like to hear from you about your experiences using the exercises. Please contact me for more information.

The exercises can be downloaded as Word (.docx) files.  Included with these exercises is a more detailed set of Extended Notes for Instructors and an Introduction to SDA for students.