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North Castle Books

The Data Game: Controversies in Social Science Statistics, Fourth Edition
Authored by: Mark H. Maier; Jennifer Imazeki

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Cloth ISBN: 978-0-7656-2979-1 Paper ISBN: 978-0-7656-2980-7
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USD: $78.95 USD: $29.95
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Available to all countries
Information: 328pp. Tables, figures, boxes, website guides, index.
Publication Date: October 2012.  


Description: This inexpensive supplement introduces students to the collection, uses, and interpretation of statistical data in the social sciences. It is a welcome add-on to all social science introductory statistics and research methods courses. Separate chapters are devoted to data in the fields of demography, housing, health, education, crime, the national economy, wealth, income, poverty, labor, business statistics, and public opinion polling, with a concluding chapter devoted to the common problem of ambiguity in social science statistics. Each chapter includes multiple case studies illustrating the controversies, overview of data sources including web sites, chapter summary and a set of case study questions designed to stimulate further thought, and detailed notes providing references for all the controversies discussed in the chapter.

Selected Contents:

List of Figures, Tables, and Boxes
Preface to the Fourth Edition

1. Introduction
The Purpose of This Book
How to Use This Book

2. Demography
Data Sources
U.S. Census
American Community Survey
Vital Statistics

Population Counts
Privacy in the Census: Double-Edged Sword?
Will There Be a Population Boom?
Undocumented Immigrants
Race and Ethnicity
How Big Is the Gay Population?
Households and Families

Case Study Questions

3. Housing
Data Sources
U.S. Census
American Housing Survey
Other Industry Data
Price Data

Housing Crisis
Racial Discrimination by Banks
Geographic Units
Is Your City the Best Place to Live?

Case Study Questions

4. Health
Data Sources
U.S. Health Surveys
Other Government Surveys
Private Surveys
Worldwide Data

Infant Mortality
Are We Living Longer?
How to Measure Longevity
Are Americans Getting Fatter?
Chicago Heat Wave: What Caused the Tragedy?
What's Unsafe on the Road? Speed, Texting, Teens, Motorcycles, or Alcohol?
Drug Use
Benefit-Cost Analysis

Case Study Questions

5. Education
Data Sources
National Center for Education Statistics
U.S. Census Bureau
Other Surveys
State Data

Poor Data
Educational Attainment
Charter Schools: Are They More Effective Than Regular Public Schools?
Teacher Compensation

Case Study Questions

6. Crime
Data Sources
Uniform Crime Reports
National Crime Victimization Survey
National Incident-Based Reporting System

Crime Is Down--And We Don't Know Why
Are There More Female Criminals?
Human Trafficking: How Often Does It Occur?
Where Is Crime the Worst?
Does Poverty Cause Crime?
Why Is the Black Crime Rate So High?
Does Prison Pay?
Hate Crimes
Does Capital Punishment Deter Murder?
More Guns/More Crime or Less Crime?
What About White-Collar Crime?

Case Study Questions

7. The National Economy
Data Sources
U.S. Commerce Department
U.S. Labor Department
U.S. Federal Reserve Board
U.S. Small Business Administration

International Statistics
Which GDP?
Adjusting GDP Growth for Inflation
Problems with GDP
Underground Economy
Intercountry Comparisons
Has China Caught Up with the United States?
Measuring Productivity
The Savings Rate
Consumer Confidence
International Statistics

Case Study Questions

8. Wealth, Income, and Poverty
Data Sources
Survey of Income and Program Participation
Indirect Estimates from Tax Records
Direct Counts

Are We Better Off?

Case Study Questions

9. Labor Statistics
Data Sources
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
U.S. Census Bureau

The Minimum Wage and Jobs
Is the Workplace Safe?

Squirrel Cage or Easier Times?
International Labor Statistics
Case Study Questions

10. Business Statistics
Data Sources
Public Corporations
Privately Held Corporations
Small Businesses
Aggregate Statistics

Who Is the Biggest of Them All?
Are the Big Too Big?
Is Small Beautiful?
Were the Bailouts a Success?
How Much Profit?
How Now Dow?

Picking Stock Winners
Case Study Questions

11. Government
Data Sources
U.S. Budget
Military Spending
Voting Data

How Much for the Military?
How Much for Welfare?
How Big Is the Deficit?
A Debt Monster?
Measuring Money
Currency Rates
Fewer Voters?

Case Study Questions

12. Public Opinion Polling
Data Sources
Private Polling Organizations
Media Polls
Research Centers

Survey Design
Predicting Elections
Polling Standards

Case Study Questions

13. Conclusions
Poor/Missing Data
Improved Data
Conflicting Definitions
Comparing Apples and Oranges
Comparing Apples and Orangutans
The Mathematics of Social Science Statistics
The Reporting of Controversies
Biased Analysis: Slanting the Numbers
What's a Researcher to Do?


Comment(s): "Even in social science, the facts don't always speak for themselves. They have to be examined, analyzed and interpreted, so that researchers and consumers of research can make sense of them. The Data Game provides a roadmap about how social scientists use data. It offers a wealth of examples that show how researchers can arrive at different conclusions based on what data they use and how they analyze it. The book is an important resource for anyone teaching those data literacy skills." -- Peter Dreier, E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics, Chair, Urban & Environmental Policy Department Occidental College

"In very readable fashion, this book introduces readers to the nature of, sources of, problems with, and controversies surrounding data used in a variety of social science topics. The profession owes Mark Maier a vote of thanks for having produced a book that will enhance our teaching, improve our research, prod our conscience, and entertain us." -- Peter Kennedy, Simon Fraser University (review of third edition in Journal of Economic Education)

Review(s): "Intended as a supplement to college and university courses in statistics and social sciences, this readable book provides an interesting and well-referenced discussion of the uses (and abuses) of statistics in controversial social issues, including crime, education, economy, wealth, and public opinion polls. With an index, summaries, and case studies in each chapter, this book is a useful addition to popular statistics books." -- Skeptical Inquirer

"The real strength of the book is the care that Maier and Imazeki give in their treatment of the controversies surrounding interpretations of data and the possibilities for why extremely different interpretations of the same set of data exist. ... The latest edition of The Data Game is an excellent supplement to statistics and data analysis texts, but it additionally stands on its own for inclusion in courses on research methods. The book works for budding researchers and for practitioners whose interactions with data may be primarily as consumers of research." -- Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory

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