Using the GSS Data Explorer website, find a topic of interest to you that the GSS has asked questions about, at some point. It is OK if the question was not asked in GSS 2016 for the purposes of this one discussion board, since you are not yet working on your lab assignments. But if you want to set yourself up well for your lab assignments, you can limit yourself to GSS 2016 only if you prefer. Say, for example, you are interested in euthanasia. Begin with (1) a theory about euthanasia. Maybe you believe euthanasia is becoming more popularly discussed in recent years because of the influence of media, politic and religion. Or perhaps you believe euthanasia is not discussed enough because it is considered a taboo topic by some. Here we have concepts like euthanasia, politics and religion. But in order to create a testable hypothesis about euthanasia, you will need to (2) identify some variables and create a hypothesis, using the GSS. For example, the GSS has a variable called “LETDIE1”—respondents were asked “When a person has a disease that cannot be cured, do you think doctors should be allowed by law to end the patient’s life by some painless means if the patient and his family request it?” People answered either yes or no. So there is one variable (it will become the dependent variable in the hypotheses below—more on that in Module 4). Now you are invited to create a hypothesis about what might influence this variable. Perhaps people’s religious affiliation (Christian, Jewish, Muslim, etc.) or how often they attend church (ATTEND) might affect their willingness to agree with euthanasia. Or maybe their level of education (EDUC) or how often they read the news (NEWS) affects their view on euthanasia. If there are other variables that you think might influence the variable you have chosen, even if they are not in the GSS, you may also suggest those. (These would be independent variables—again, more in Module 4). Help your classmates formulate hypotheses on their topics of interest when you post your responses. Don’t just respond to your peers by telling them they have a good idea; rather, suggest other variables they may not have considered.
Copy and paste this link to access the GSS Data Explorer website: https://gssdataexplorer.norc.org/variables/vfilter
Your second discussion board assignment is to upload a screenshot from your home computer showing an open SPSS window with the GSS data loaded properly inside it. Make sure this week’s date and time is visible in your screenshot. If you are unable to be prepared with this by Sunday night, instead include a screenshot showing your progress. For example, maybe you have the GSS data files but not SPSS. Or maybe you have SPSS files showing on your computer, but you cannot open them. Attempt some kind of screenshot to show where you are in this process so that your instructor can work with you to troubleshoot and get you where you need to be for the course.
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