Using Web-based analysis [SDS] and a subset of the ANES [American National Election Study]


Due Date:________________(check class schedule)  

For this assignment you will perform an analysis of nationally collected data, the American National Election Study (Specifics on 1996 study) conducted by the The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR).  The data for this exercise has been made available by the Computer-assisted Survey  Methods Program (CSM) at the University of California, Berkeley. Analysis of this data is with SDA, Survey Documentation and Analysis, a set of programs for the documentation and Web based analysis of survey data.  We will demonstrate a sample research procedure using this web based data in class.  You will then choose your own variables, based on information from your text and class, and write up a formal report following the Basic Research Procedure steps listed below.


Survey Documentation and Analysis, a set of programs for the documentation and Web based analysis of survey data.  We will demonstrate a sample research procedure using this web based data in class.  You will then choose your own variables, based on information from your text and class, and write up a formal report following the Basic Research Procedure steps listed below.

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    I  Carefully read or preferably take the Sample ANES, a selection of questions appearing on the GSS, to become familiar with the questions. While taking the survey think about possible topics you could explore with this data.

  •  Based on your general knowledge and knowledge from this course (Introductory Sociology, Stratification, Critical Thinking, etc.) pick from Sample ANES one question as an independent variable (cause) and one question as an dependent variable (effect) you think might be related. You may examine more than two variables if you wish, but only two are required for this assignment.


      • My hypothesis is based on the questions in the survey is that religious identity is related to one's attitude about abortion.
  • I then expanded my hypothesis to the larger topic based on my knowledge of social science. My topic is:


      • I am interested in the importance of a person's religious beliefs.

II  Next complete the Basic Research Procedure steps listed below.   Develop and write up a research topic, develop a theory, specify a hypothesis, perform analysis and write up your project.

 Basic Research Procedure: Follow the steps below in this exercise and in your write up.

(1)  Select a research topic: State the topic  you have chosen based on the questions in the survey and your social science interest. State the problem in a clear, understandable manner. Remember a topic is broader and more abstract then your hypothesis.

I want to examine the importance of religious beliefs in relationship to other beliefs and behaviors.  Religious beliefs are concerned with... [Your statement will be a topic sentence followed by a short paragraph describing your topic and perhaps the importance of this topic.]

(2) Review the literature: Do this with readily available sources; your class text, class notes, current news reports you read in the paper, books or magazine articles, your general knowledge (be careful with the last as your "general knowledge" is not always a good source). Use your class text as the major source for information on your topic, where possible. You could use library sources, even journals in the library, as a professional paper would do, but that can be quite involved and is more than expected for this exercise. Cite sources using an acceptable professional formatting style. Where relevant and possible, summarize agreements and disagreements in available resources.

I would look up in my class text, notes, news articles, information about religious beliefs and their importance for behaviors and attitudes. [Summarize the ideas you have found and cite sources. Try for some basic ideas about your topic and don't turn this into a graduate thesis!]

(3) Formulate the problem: Define the problem in terms of a hypothesis, an educated guess [a proposed relationship of cause and effect]. Carefully and completely identify independent (cause), dependent (effect) variables and other variables that may be important (this is your research hypothesis) Briefly state why your hypothesis should be correct in terms of your expectations derived from number two.

Hypothesis: A person's Religious identification affects their attitude about abortion.

a. State the dependent (cause) and independent variable (effect), the relationship you are examining

For my topic: Religion is the independent variable and attitude about abortion is the dependent variable).

b. What reasons do you have for believing the variables are related?

Summarize "2" with respect to your hypothesis

Be sure and make your logic clear for believing there is a relationship. You could have a general hypothesis (Religious belief is related to attitude about abortion.) or make a more specific hypothesis (People with religious beliefs will be more likely to be against abortion than those without religious beliefs.).  Whichever hypothesis you make be sure your reader understands why you believe this to be the case.

(4) Create a research design: Since the study has been done, you are performing "secondary research". Simply state the method (survey) and sampling procedure  and measurement instrument (state the specific questions you used to test your hypothesis). A summary of this information can be found on the  Sample ANES   more complete information can be found at the ANES overview page.


What method was used?

The data was gathered using a face to face interview.  The interview...[check the material about how the survey was performed ANES overview page and summarize for the reader]

What sampling procedure was used? Be sure to specify the population and sample.  Include selection procedure, time, place and size where relevant.

The sample was a ...[check the material about the sampling technique used and summarize for the reader]

What were the questions you used from the survey (repeat the exact wording from Sample ANES).



[Abortion if woman wants for any reason]

_______Please tell me whether or not you think it should be possible for a pregnant woman to obtain a legal abortion if: the woman wants it for any reason?

1. Yes

2. No

3. Don't know


[Respondent's religious preference]

_______What is your religious preference? Is it Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, some other religion, or no religion?






8 DK

(5) Collect data: The data are already collected so all you will need to do is go to the web and create your table and statistics.  Instructions on how to do this are at obtaining data from the ANES

(6) Interpreting and analyzing data: Examine your table and write up a description about what it shows... (supports your hypothesis, rejects your hypothesis, etc. and why). Check the how to read a table if you need to refresh your memory. Check interpreting statistics if you need a refresh about basic table statistics.

Explain your table - Describe individual variable distributions and the relationship between variables. Just look at the table and tell me what the distribution shows. Don't worry about the extra statistics, just explain those discussed in interpreting statistics.

State whether the table supports or rejects your hypothesis. If the answer is no, offer a reason as to why not.

Make suggestions as to further research on this topic (e.g., restatement of question, different sample or population, other questions [specify] etc.)

(7) Publishing findings: Write up as a formal paper. Your paper must be typed, tables should be cut from printed output and pasted to the appropriate page location in your paper. Your write-up should be carefully organized around the steps listed above and care should be taken to be clear and unambiguous to your audience. The last page of your paper should be a bibliography following an acceptable professional formatting style.  Your audience is students who are not in this class. You should be able to have a friend read your paper and be able to explain what you did.  Be able to give a verbal summary of your efforts on this assignment if asked.

Possible Grading Criteria:

Your annotations should be well written (typed with your name, date and assignment number at the top), grammatical, complete, free of spelling errors. You will be graded down for papers that look like first drafts.  Organize carefully and clearly, proof  before submitting. Remember, your audience is someone like yourself who is not taking this class.  The reader should be able to read, understand and apply the ideas used in your paper.

(1) Typed professional quality of your paper -- your name, class, date and assignment number should be at the top right of your paper. Proper referencing (APA, MLA, etc.), identifying the sources, should be included at the end of your paper if needed.

(2) Precise use of concepts. The concepts you use should be used correctly; be certain that you understand them.

(3) Subtlety or profundity of the annotation. This is a rather more subjective criterion. It identifies the difference between acceptable and accurate work on the one hand, and, on the other, really interesting work.  In other words, the difference between "C" or "B" work and "A" work.