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Statistics for Political Analysis

Statistics for Political Analysis
Understanding the Numbers

January 2014 | 496 pages | CQ Press
Statistics are just as vital to understanding political science as the study of institutions, but getting students to understand them when teaching a methods course can be a big challenge. Statistics for Political Analysis makes understanding the numbers easy. The only introduction to statistics book written specifically for political science undergraduates, this book explains each statistical concept in plain language—from basic univariate statistics and the basic measures of association to bivariate and multivariate regression—and uses real world political examples. Students learn the relevance of statistics to political science, how to understand and calculate statistics mathematically, and how to obtain them using SPSS. All calculations are modeled step-by-step, giving students needed practice to master the process without making it intimidating. Each chapter concludes with exercises that get students actively applying the steps and building their professional skills through data calculation, analysis, and memo writing.

1. The Political Use of Numbers: Lies and Statistics
The Power of Numbers

The Science of Politics

Introductory Statistics: An Overview

Removing the Barriers to Understanding How Statistics Works

The Importance of Statistics: This Book’s Approach

Using Data to Answer a Question

A Political Application: Indoctrination U.

Your Turn: Using Statistics

Apply It Yourself: Assess Grants to Political Scientists

Key Terms

2. Measurement: Counting the Biggel-Balls
Finding Your Cases

Measure an Attribute

Evaluate the Conceptual and Operational Definitions

Translate Information in Numbers: Coding Your Data

Get a Frequency Distribution

Summarizing the Process: Measurement

Use SPSS to Answer a Question with Measurement

Your Turn: Measurement

Apply It Yourself: Measure the Norm for Chief Justice Appointments

Key Terms

3. Measures of Central Tendency: That’s Some Mean Baseball
Measures of Central Tendency

Summarizing the Math: Averages

Use SPSS to Answer a Question with Averages

Your Turn: Measures of Central Tendency

Apply It Yourself: Calculate the Percent of Earned Income

Key Terms

4. Measures of Dispersion: Missing the Mark

Distance from Mean

Summarizing the Math: Dispersion

Use SPSS to Answer a Question with Measures of Dispersion

Your Turn: Measures of Dispersion

Apply It Yourself: Evaluate Graduates’ Salaries

Key Terms

5. Continuous Probability: So What’s Normal Anyway?
The Normal Curve


Finding a Z-Score

Use Probability to Calculate Z-Scores

Summarizing the Math: Probabilities of Continuous Events

Use SPSS to Answer a Question with Continuous Probability

Your Turn: Continuous Probability

Apply It Yourself: Evaluate the Murder Rate

Key Terms

6. Means Testing: Sampling a Population
Type I and Type II Errors

Means Testing

Confidence Intervals: Two-Tailed Distributions

Choose a Sample Size

Summarizing the Math: Sampling a Population

Use SPSS to Answer a Question with Means Testing

Your Turn: Means Testing

Apply It Yourself: Assess Maternal Mortality Rate Increases

Key Terms

7. Hypothesis Testing: Examining Relationships
Hypothesis Testing

Summarizing the Math: Hypothesis Testing and ANOVA

Use SPSS to Answer a Question with ANOVA

Your Turn: Hypothesis Testing

Apply It Yourself: Examine Partisanship’s Affect on Feelings toward the Democratic Party

Key Terms

8. Describing the Pattern: What Do You See?
Choosing the Appropriate Form of Presentation

Graphs: Relationships and Scales

Visualizing a Relationship: Contingency Tables

Summarizing the Math: Graphs and Contingency Tables

Use SPSS to Answer a Question Using a Contingency Table

Your Turn: Describing the Pattern

Apply It Yourself: Determine Stability across Legislative Systems

Key Terms

9. Chi-Square and Cramer’s V: What Do You Expect?
The Probability of Discrete Events


Cramer’s V

Summarizing the Math: Chi-Square and Cramer’s V

Use SPSS to Answer a Question with Chi-Square and Cramer’s V

Your Turn: Chi-Square and Cramer’s V

Apply It Yourself: Analyze Data by Type

Key Terms

10. Measures of Association: Making Connections
Basic Principles of Measures of Association

Pearson’s R



Summarizing the Math: Measures of Association

Use SPSS to Answer a Question with Measures of Association

Your Turn: Measures of Association

Apply It Yourself: Measure Poor Student Graduation Rates

Key Terms
11. Multivariate Relationships: Taking Control
Spurious Relationships

Interaction Effects

Three-Way Contingency Tables

Summarizing the Process: Setting Up Three-Way Contingency Tables

Use SPSS to Answer a Question with a Three-Way Contingency Table

Your Turn: Multivariate Relationships

Apply It Yourself: Analyze Data on Race for Partisanship and Income

Key Terms

12. Bivariate Regression: Putting Your Ducks in a Line
Graph a Relationship

Fit the Data with the Ordinary Least Squares Estimate of the Line

Find the Statistical Significance

Find the Strength of the Relationship

Use Regressions with Time Series Data

Interpret Regressions with Dichotomous Independent Variables

Summarizing the Math: Regression

Use SPSS to Answer a Question with Bivariate Regression

Your Turn: Bivariate Regression

Apply It Yourself: Analyze Influences on Corruption

Key Terms

13. Multiple Regression: The Final Frontier
Using Regression to Control for Other Variables

The Assumptions of Regression

Summarizing the Process: Multiple Regression

Use SPSS to Answer a Question with Multiple Regression

Your Turn: Multiple Regression

Apply It Yourself: Evaluate the Impact of Multiple Factors on the 2012 Presidential Election

Key Terms

14. Understanding the Numbers: Knowing What Counts

Univariate Statistics

Multivariate Statistics

Keeping the Numbers Meaningful

Embracing the Uncertainty

Key Terms

Reference Materials


Instructor Resource Site

SAGE edge for Instructors, supports teaching by making it easy to integrate quality content and create a rich learning environment for students.

  • Test banks built on Bloom’s Taxonomy to provide a diverse range of test items
  • Editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides offer complete flexibility for creating a multimedia presentation for the course
  • Instructor manual which summarize key concepts by chapter to ease preparation for lectures and class discussions
  • A set of all the graphics from the text, including all of the maps, tables, and figures, is available in PowerPoint, pdf, and JPEG formats for class presentations
Student Study Site

SAGE edge for Students provides a personalized approach to help students accomplish their coursework goals in an easy-to-use learning environment and features elements such as:

  • Chapter summaries with learning objectives that reinforce the most important material
  • Carefully selected video and multimedia content that enhance exploration of key topics
  • Datasets and documentation to be used with the "Apply It Yourself" exercises.
Key features


  • Over 250 tables and figures walk students through how to calculate statistics and obtain them through SPSS.
  • Your Turn exercises let students apply what they’ve learned with assignments set in a politically relevant context that ask them to use real data to solve hypothetical questions similar to those modeled in the chapter. Students apply a statistical concept through math-based calculations.
  • Apply It Yourself sections at the end of each chapter present a problem-based learning situation in which students answer a real world question and write a memo based on their statistical results. This practical approach requires students to both analyze data and explain their results and lets them come to see the professional relevance of the material.
  • How to Use SPSS boxes provide clear, easy instructions on how to use this software package, from how to calculate a variable to how to run a regression.
  • Numbers in the News boxes briefly spotlight an episode from the political world that shows how often statistics are used in news.
  • Key terms are bolded in the text, listed at the end of chapters, and defined in a glossary.
  • Reference material at the back of the book provides a ready resource that consolidates tips from across the chapters so that students can quickly look up how to create polished memos, craft a table for frequency or cross-tabulation, remind themselves how to use SPSS, or reference data from a Z table, T table, or chi-square table to complete calculations.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

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