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# COURSE SYLLABUS SPRING 2012

## IPOL 8504 A&B Data Analysis for Public Policy 4 credits

Monday & Wednesday COURSE DESCRIPTION
The course is an introduction to inferential statistics with an emphasis on Policy Analysis applications. Topics to be covered include sampling, estimation, hypothesis testing, analysis of variance, and simple and multiple regression analysis. The course will also include an introduction to the use of advanced software as a tool for data analysis using leading statistical packages, as well as spreadsheet statistical functions.

COURSE OBJECTIVES
At the o o o o o end of the semester, students will be able to: Identify different types of data and their level of measurement. Collect, clean, and manipulate data and otherwise make it useable for analysis Describe distributions in terms of their central tendency and dispersion. Perform basic inferential statistical analysis (difference in means and proportions) Perform advanced inferential analyses (analysis of variance, simple/multiple regression) o Interpret and present their findings using quality writing and appropriate graphic representations of analytical results.

## TEXTBOOKS AND OTHER MATERIALS

Required: Evan Berman, XiaoHu Wang (2011) Essential Statistics for Public Managers and Policy Analysts, 3rd Edition. Sage/CQ Press. ISBN: 978-1-60871-677-7. Indicated in the list of readings as Berman. o The more ambitious among you might want to download some of the documents available at the cran.r-project website http://cran.r-project.org/, such as An Introduction to R. Software: You must download the open-source (i.e. free) software at http://cran.r-project.org/ You will also need Excel (any newish version on any platform would do). Other spreadsheet packages (Apples iWork-Numbers, or OpenOffices Calc) would work as well. Other suggested books: Agresti, A. and Finlay, B. Statistical Methods for the Social Sciences. Sirkin, R. Mark. Statistics for the Social Sciences Salkind, Neil Statistics for People Who (Think They) Hate Statistics Frey, B. Statistics Hacks: Tips & Tools for Measuring the World and Beating the Odds Gonick. The Cartoon Guide to Statistics Rosenthal, Jeffrey S. Struck by Lightening: the Curious World of Probabilities Mlodinow, Leonard The Drunkards Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives

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## METHODOLOGY AND POLICIES

Methodology
The course is developed as a series of twice-a-week short lectures and long classroom activities. The lectures loosely follow the structure of the required textbook, and other material, some of which is indicated in the list of suggested textbooks. Students are responsible for completing ALL assignments (Both group and individual) as well as ALL readings. Other exercises will be also assigned; some of them may be graded, and most will be discussed in class. In addition to classroom *Syllabi are subject to change by the instructor with advance notice to students Page 1

time, the successful completion of the course requires students allocate 2 to 4 hours every week to work on computer exercises, assignments and material review. Almost all material and class-related communications are available through a Google Group (used as a discussion board). Students must become members of the group in order to access to the class material. Follow instructors guides to this effect. You must sign up for access to the course website: https://sites.google.com/site/ipol8504/

WE WILL WORK A LOT IN CLASS. THEREFORE YOU ARE EXPECTED TO HAVE A LAPTOP COMPUTER IN CLASS. YOU ARE ALSO EXPECTED TO SIGN UP AND FREQUENTLY CHECK THE CLASS SHARED FOLDER IN GOOGLE DOCS. ALL COURSE DOCUMENTS WILL BE POSTED THERE. Group Work
There are multiple in-classroom and outside activities performed in groups. Group-work is intense and demands everyones participation. Group conflicts are to be resolved inside the group. In the extreme case that the problem cannot be resolved by group member, the intervention of the instructor might be necessary. If the problem is about uneven performance, the instructor might request the underperforming student(s) to submit individual work, at a discounted grade. You are also strongly encouraged to form a study group, which may or may not be your project(s) group. This will maximize your chances of succeeding in the class and, consequently, getting a higher grade (in case you care about that instead of actually learning). Some weekly assignments and the final project are done in groups (2 to 4 people) throughout the semester. Please turn in only one assignment per group. Quizzes and exams are NOT done in groups.

Work Submission
Homework is due by the beginning of class on the date specified. Students will have assignments due most weeks during the course, excluding the week of the final examination. Collaboration on the assignments is acceptable, but each student is required to write up his or her own solutions. To get full credit, all steps of work done by hand must be shown or relevant output attached and annotated. Numerical answers alone will not be accepted for full credit. Where appropriate, use technology. When including output in the text of the document, only include relevant output (cut and paste only what you need). You may put all output into an appendix as well, but dont clutter your text with output to which you do not refer. The purpose of assignments is three-fold: 1. To give practice in the basic skills and concepts of probability and statistics; 2. To provide quick feedback on understanding of the concepts we are covering; and 3. For you to self-evaluate your progress through the course. Toward these ends, homework must be available in hard-copy format by the due date in order for them to be graded in class and returned promptly. Late assignments will not be accepted for full credit. Your homework grade is based on whether you attempted the work and how well you showed your work, not whether you got the correct answer.

Topics covered
Statistical inference using confidence intervals and tests of significance (p-values) lies at the heart of much statistical practice. In this course, you will see some basic elements of these inferential tools, and in this course we will explore detailed applications of these elements for a series of important cases involving: comparisons of means and proportions. *Syllabi are subject to change by the instructor with advance notice to students Page 2

Regression is an example of statistical models that are particularly useful for describing relationships among variables. Scientists use models to explain various phenomena, particularly those impacting public policy. For example, determining factors that affect higher incidences of crime, using GRE scores to predict performance in graduate school, or using economic models to specify demand as a function of price. Statistics can be used to quantify theories governing these phenomena and to give them practical application. Topics to be covered are: Research Design and Variable Measurement Sampling and Data Introduction to the Excel Environment Descriptive Statistics Introduction to Inferential Statistics Hypothesis Testing Introduction to the R environment Chi-Square Distribution Comparing Means o T-tests o One-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) Correlation and Linear Regression It is possible that, due to unforeseen circumstances, lectures may not follow the weekly schedule (attached). For example, difficult topics may require additional time than allotted on the proposed schedule. In these cases, I will gauge the general comprehension level of the class and may alter the lecture (splitting the lecture or combining portions of lectures). It is the students responsibility to read materials prior to class and to follow which topics are being covered on a particular day.

Exams
There will be one exam during the course: a final examination. Students are expected to take the exam on the exam day. There may also be up to two (2) quizzes during the course. The purpose of the quizzes is to reinforce materials learned during the lectures and homework assignments, as well as prepare students for the final examination. All examinations are open notes and open book. You may not speak with anyone during a quiz or exam (except the instructor). I can only answer clarifying questions. I will not tell you if an answer is right or wrong or whether you are on the right track. If you speak with anyone (other than the instructor) during a quiz/exam or If you receive assistance from a classmate or other person outside of the class on a quiz/exam: You will, at the minimum, receive a 0 for the quiz/exam.

*Syllabi are subject to change by the instructor with advance notice to students

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Class Project
Early in the semester, we will begin the class project. The class will divide into groups and together all of the groups will develop a research question based on a common theme. All groups will then work together to co-design a single survey that they will all then implement in the Monterey area. Groups will use the data from the survey to answer the question that they developed early in the term. The final report should be delivered electronically and will be structured as follows: Introduction to the topic (brief) Literature Review and research question Definition of the variables (and possibly transformations of those variables) Analytic methods used, and why those methods were chosen Output and Findings Interpretation Discussion & Policy Relevance Bibliography Appendix 1: Troubleshooting and satisfying assumptions Appendix 2: All script files from R Commander * Also submit your cleaned data set as a .RDA file.

Students are responsible for abiding the rules in the Academic Policy and Standards Manual (APSM). The most serious academic offense in this course is plagiarism, as defined in APSM. I treat this issue very, very seriously. Assignments in which students failed to cite source in the proper fashion will receive a failing F grade. I reserve the right to submit any of your work (including drafts and informal pieces) to plagiarism search engines and sites. No replacement assignment will be given in lieu of the failed assignment. Students who, through action or omission, facilitate the commission of plagiarism are violating academic integrity. This behavior is unacceptable in all cases (written assignment, in-class tests, etc.) and will be severely penalized. Depending on the circumstances, students might even get a failing grade (F) for the course.

## Student Honor Code

The Monterey Institute of International Studies seeks to promote the principles of honesty and integrity in the performance of duties both inside and outside the classroom, viewing these as fundamental to successful and meaningful learning. The Honor Code is the Institutes statement on academic integrity and represents our expectations for students and faculty to establish and maintain the highest academic standards.

PLAGIARISM: Plagiarism occurs when a student receives or gives aid not specifically authorized
during an exam, during a quiz, or when writing a paper or working on a class project of any type. Plagiarism of any form is also considered cheating and is unacceptable. Plagiarism is also defined as inappropriate paraphrasing or failing to properly cite a source used to obtain information for writing a paper or completing course work. Student Resource Guide, Academic Year 2010-2011 Any evidence of plagiarism in this course will be considered a violation of the Honor Code and will be investigated and if appropriate, disciplinary action will be taken. If you have any questions about whether you are providing adequate acknowledgement of others work, please ask the instructor.

My Expectations:
I expect that students will: read the material prior to lecture, review the material after lecture, utilize office hours and teaching assistant(s) for additional help with concepts (not to check their progress on assignments), review the assignments prior to lecture, provide the instructor with ongoing feedback to maximize the students learning experience, submit assignments on time, *Syllabi are subject to change by the instructor with advance notice to students Page 4

perform work at a graduate level, and exercise ethical behavior in class responsibilities

## The Downside of Having Computers in the Classroom

I encourage students to bring their laptop computers to class so that they may participate in class exercises and apply what they are learning as it is presented in class. However, I have noticed that the computers also tend to present a strong temptation for surfing, checking emails, and chatting. Worse, I have noticed students in past classes who thought it was a good idea to share their computer entertainment with those around them. This is extremely disruptive to your peers and to me. If I notice that you are incapable of using your computer in class without such distraction you will lose your right to bring your computer to class except for exams and quizzes.

Homework Assignments Quizzes Group Final project Final exam (open-book) Total 10% 30% 30% 30% 100%

Every other week or so, there will be an in-class 10-minute quiz on the previous week/s material (during the first 10 minutes of class, so be on time on quiz days). The exact date of each quiz will be announce at least 7 days in advance. Every 2 or 3 weeks, computer-based exercises /or problems from the textbook will be assigned and you must turn them in on time. Letter grade Scale A+= Stunning, A= 93-100 points A- = 89-92 points incredible work B+= 87-89 points B= 83-86 points B- = 80-82 points C+= 77-79 points C= 73-76 points C- = 70-72 points below 70 is a failing (F) grade In order to get a passing grade, students must pass the final exam (i.e. obtain at least a grade of 70/100).

## SCHEDULE AND WEEKLY ASSIGNMENTS

Week 1 TOPICS: Introduction to Data Analysis. Data types. Introduction to Sampling, Choose Groups and Begin Class Project READING: Berman Chapters 1, 3, and 5 Week 2 TOPICS: Descriptive Statistics. Central Tendency and Dispersion. READING: Berman Chapters 6 and 7 Week 3 TOPICS: Statistical Inference. Confidence Intervals. Distributions. READING: Berman Chp 7 (pp. 124-131); Handout Distributed electronically Week 4 TOPICS: Hypothesis Testing in Proportions. Contingency Tables. Chi-Square Test READING: Berman Chapters 8 and 10 Week 5 TOPICS: Hypothesis Testing: Difference in Means (t-tests). READING: Berman Chp 12 Week 6 TOPICS: t-tests continued READING: Berman Chp 12 Week 7 (No class March 14) TOPICS: Comparing Group Means: Analysis of Variance Methods *Syllabi are subject to change by the instructor with advance notice to students Page 5