Pol413 - POL 413 students: Read and complete the analyses...

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POL 413 students: Read and complete the analyses in this chapter by Monday, August 30 th . We will discuss key concepts and research findings in class. You do not need to turn anything in for this chapter. CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION TO CONDUCTING EMPIRICAL ANALYSIS Are women or men more supportive of abortion rights? According to conventional wisdom, women are more favorable toward abortion rights than men. Women are the ones, after all, whose bodies are directly affected by whether the government restricts or allows access to abortion. But is this conventional wisdom true? Is it the case that women are actually more supportive than men of abortion rights? How would you go about answering this question? You could ask ten of your closest friends their opinions on abortion and see whether there are gender differences in support for abortion rights. But of course that would only tell you about the attitudes of those particular ten people. That's not a very satisfying result when you are interested in the attitudes of men and women in general, not just your best buddies. What you need to know is the abortion attitudes of a representative sample of U.S. citizens. A representative sample is one that accurately reflects the characteristics of the population from which the sample is drawn. Fortunately, there are survey research organizations that regularly collect such data. The General Social Survey (GSS), for example, asked the following question in a survey conducted in 2008: "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?" The GSS also recorded whether 1
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each survey respondent was a man or a woman. Therefore, you can use the GSS data to answer the question of whether men or women are more supportive of abortion rights. The GSS, by the way, can answer many other questions related to public opinion. This survey has been conducted since 1972 (almost every year at first, then biennially beginning in 1994). Each time it is conducted, the GSS queries a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults on their attitudes toward a wide range of political and social topics. It would be impossible, or at least extremely difficult, to survey every adult in America, so survey organizations instead ask their questions of a smaller group of adults – a sample – that is meant to be representative of the entire U.S. population. How do researchers obtain a representative sample of U.S. citizens to survey? Survey researchers use a technique called random sampling. A random sample is one in which chance alone determines which citizens end up in the sample. When citizens are selected in this way, they should accurately represent the larger population from which the sample was drawn.
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This note was uploaded on 02/19/2011 for the course POL 413 taught by Professor Clauson during the Fall '10 term at Purdue University-West Lafayette.

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Pol413 - POL 413 students: Read and complete the analyses...

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