Exploring Society By The Numbers

Introduction to Rural America

Meredith Redlin, South Dakota State University

Summary

The following materials illustrate an exercise of simplified recreation of study data. The text used as the basis for this exercise is Children of the Land: Adversity and Success in Rural America, by Glen H. Elder, Jr. and Rand D. Conger (University of Chicago Press, 2000). In this exercise, students respond to some of the survey questions used in Elder and Congers study. A data set is then compiled by the instructor. Students then take on the role as researchers and use their own class data for hypothesis formulation and testing. Student devise original hypotheses using their choice of variables from the data set. The instructor then runs the appropriate test for their hypothesis, and provides students with results (most often crosstabulation tables or reports of means) for final analysis.

Learning Goals

Skill
After using this module, students will gain skills in:
  • Learning about survey methodology and sampling methods
  • Forming testable hypotheses using quantitative data
  • Quantitative writing
  • Translating data findings to inform decision making

Context for Use

This exercise was designed for a sociology course and focuses on rural youth in the United States. Students will complete an exercise of simplified recreation of study data and then take on the role as researchers and use their own class data for hypothesis formulation and testing. The data is compiled by the instructor and crosstabulations are run for each variable. Student then devise original hypotheses and analyze the data using their choice of variables from the data set.

Description and Teaching Materials

Exercises: PDF (Acrobat (PDF) 307kB Mar25 09)
Exercises: DOC (Microsoft Word 494kB Mar25 09)
Instructor's Guide: PDF (Acrobat (PDF) 60kB Mar25 09)
Instructor's Guide: DOC (Microsoft Word 68kB Mar25 09)

Teaching Notes and Tips

This activity utilizes a recreation of study survey of students in the class to create a unique dataset for students to analyze.

Assessment

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References and Resources

Children of the Land: Adversity and Success in Rural America, by Glen H. Elder, Jr. and Rand D. Conger (University of Chicago Press, 2000)

Original Archive Module:
http://www.ssdan.net/datacounts/modules/index/redlin_ruralamerica_index.shtml

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