- Key Readings
Statistics and statistical analyses have become a key feature of contemporary social science. Social statistics is the use of statistical measurement systems to study human behavior in a social environment. This can be accomplished through polling a particular group of people, evaluating a particular subset of data obtained about a group of people, or by observation and statistical analysis of a set of data that relates to people and their behaviors. This major reference collection brings together the classic pieces that have framed the often controversial debates of using statistics as a social research method.
This collection of readings on social statistics provides a broadly chronological account of the creation and development of statistical methods relevant to the social sciences, and in particular, to sociology. Sociological research has posed serious challenges for statistical analysis historically because sociological data are not generally continuous in nature1. Statistical methods such as linear regression models and analysis of variance (ANOVA) developed rapidly after Galton's breakthroughs in the 1870s and 1880s which culminated in his book, Natural Inheritance (Galton, 1889). However, these methods were based upon assumptions of continuous data with an underlying normal distribution and were therefore inappropriate for the analysis of much sociological data. New methods had to be created and developed. These four volumes chart these ...