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Over the last few years, I have developed several computer programs to help students think sociologically. They grew out of my belief that quantitative reasoning is not hard -- if it is presented well. Too often it is not, so many students learn to fear numbers. They lose the chance to see how sociologists test social hypotheses -- and thus lose a key part of our discipline's critical beauty.

For years, I tried various commercial computer packages in the classroom. Each had its flaws. Some used fake data -- teaching students statistics, but not teaching them real sociology. Others provided only a few variables, thus limiting students' ability to explore. Still others were "bloatware" -- so full of statistical routines that they quickly intimidated beginning students. And several were tied to various authors' workbooks, none of which covered the topics I most like to teach. At last I decided to write my own programs and exercises, oriented toward the beginning student.

I have provided five programs for downloading below. Sociological Insights and Choosing Neighbors run on Windows 9x and NT systems; the rest run on DOS (with a self-contained graphic interface). Sorry --they won't run on Macintosh.

All of the programs are FREEWARE. You may distribute them, but you may not charge any money for doing so.

If you like them and feel generous, please send contributions to:

Jones Computer Center
University of Redlands
Redlands, CA 92373

Please enclose a note telling them what the money is for.

NOTE:

Several years ago, the University proposed a policy that potentially claimed ownership of all files on its computers. 
As a result, I moved these programs to my personal web site.

I have intended to move them back again when the intellectual property issues are resolved. 
Until then, please get this software from:

www.McGuire-Spickard.com

The software is still free and will remain so.  I just don't want anyone else claiming ownership!

Click on the following to go to the www.McGuire-Spickard.com software page:

bullet Sociological Insights (self-installing EXE file)

Version 2.1.2 -- May 2005. This program combines STATES and SURVEY into one easy-to-use package for Windows 9x and NT computers (squashing all known bugs). The STATES module displays and analyzes about 250 social variables from the 50 U.S. states. The SURVEY module displays and analyzes responses from the 1994 and 2000 General Social Surveys. The program comes with extensive help screens, which explain basic statistical concepts at an undergraduate level. FREEWARE

I periodically post updated data files on my personal web site. Check back every few months to see what's cookin'.

(Software accompanies my book Thinking Through Statistics.  Click here for details.)

bullet Choosing Neighbors

This program implements Thomas Schelling's mathematical model of residential segregation.  Basically, Schelling shows that non-bigoted individual choices about where to live can result in extremely segregated housing.  I use this to program in my Introductory classes to demonstrate the independence of social facts from psychological ones.
 

bullet STATES10.ZIP  

Version 1.0 -- Spring 1997. This program displays 120+ social variables on a map of the 50 United States. It includes such things as crime rates, health and illness rates, education rates, etc. -- including such oddities as the average level of beer consumption. Students can display the variables as maps or lists. They can correlate any variable with any other and display the correlations numerically or by scatterplot. And they can run up to 5-variable regressions to test these correlations for significance. FREEWARE

bulletSURVEY10.ZIP  

Version 1.0 -- Spring 1997. This program displays 100+ variables from the 1994 General Social Survey -- a yearly survey of about 1500 randomly chosen, non-institutionalized U.S. adults. Variables include measures of education, social class, health, etc. plus attitudes on key social issues. Students can display data, cross-tabulate two variables, or cross-tabulate two variables while controlling for a third. FREEWARE

(NOTE! This program contains 1 known bug: 4x4, 5x4, and 5x5 tables display an improper level of significance.)

bullet TUTOR10.ZIP

Version 1.0 -- Fall 1994. This drill program helps learn to read statistical tables: distributions, scatterplots, regressions, and cross-tabulations, the last with and without a control variable. FREEWARE.

Enjoy!

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Page copyright 1995-2008 by Jim Spickard
last edited 01/25/2008