Social Statistics (2015/2016)

Course code
Claudio Capiluppi
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Teaching is organised as follows:
Activity Credits Period Academic staff Timetable
Lezione 3 Sem. IIA Claudio Capiluppi
Esercitazione 3 Sem. IIA, Sem. IIB Claudio Capiluppi

Lesson timetable

Sem. IIA
Activity Day Time Type Place Note
Lezione Monday 3:40 PM - 6:10 PM lesson Laboratory Laboratorio PC (T.9) from Mar 21, 2016  to Apr 24, 2016
Lezione Friday 3:40 PM - 6:10 PM lesson Lecture Hall Informatica 1 from Mar 21, 2016  to Apr 24, 2016
Sem. IIB
Activity Day Time Type Place Note
Esercitazione Monday 3:40 PM - 6:10 PM lesson Laboratory Laboratorio PC (T.9)  
Esercitazione Friday 3:40 PM - 6:10 PM lesson Lecture Hall Informatica 1  

Learning outcomes

- knowledge and understanding of the principles and logic of the scientific method
- knowledge of methodological concepts and tools that are fundamental in the empirical research
- understanding of the empirical verification method of a scientific hypothesis
- knowledge and understanding of the experimental method for the verification of causal links

- ability to apply the principles of the scientific method to any real context
- ability to evaluate the scientific validity of an empirical research
- ability to critically evaluate a theory, and the ability to understand how to apply the hypothesis testing method, by using the learned methodological basis and statistical tools

- The aim of the course is providing a statistical reading key of the realty: starting from the study of the problems and errors inherent in the process of observation and measurement, it develops a reflection on the variability of the phenomena and the observed data, in order to understand how the whole empirical knowledge is in fact of a matter of sample nature. The students should realize that a statistical formed mind and the statistical tools are necessary to face the study of any observed phenomenon. By this way, the course want to contribute to provide the methodo-logical and mathematic basis that allow for critically evaluating, on one side, the theories and, on the other side, the data, on which evaluations and interventions in the different contexts of the social service are based.


  • The principles of scientific method and the validity of a research. By formulating the research problem to hypothesis testing. Observation and measurement processes. Types of variables and measurement scales. The concept of distribution.
  • Study of the distribution of a variable and summaries of information. Frequency tables and graphical representations. Grouping data into classes. Indices of centrality: the position and algebraic averages. Indices of variability.
  • Transformations of variables. Standardization. Synthetic compound indexes.
  • The normal distribution. Properties and applications.
  • Analysis of the dependence between two variables. Frequency of double-entry tables. Conditional frequencies. Independence and association. Indices of association. Dependence on average. Correlation. The linear regression. The method of least squares. Interpretation and evaluation of the model.
  • Sampling and Estimation. The sampling error. Property of the estimate: precision and accuracy. The bias problem. The confidence interval. How do I determine the sample size ?
  • Statistical testing of hypotheses. Hypotheses and assumptions. The test statistic and its distribution. The statistical significance. Tests on averages and percentages.

Assessment methods and criteria

The exam consists of a written test (Test), and a following oral exam for the confirmation of the mark.

Written Test (Test)

The written exam takes place in a computer classroom but does not require computer skills: the PC is used only to display the questions and enter the responses, after writing answers/solutions on the paper sheets. The test is presented as a multiple response test but is a normal written exam, which requires a complete, orderly and readable written answer for all the exercises and questions to which an answer is entered in the computerized questionnaire. Responses to theoretical questions, and even questions that do not require computations, must be adequately explained and justified in writing too. For the test to be valid, it is necessary to answer 2/3 of the questions (e.g. 20/30). Wrong responses are penalized. Unanswered responses (or with not correct writing) are invalid: any responses that are inserted in the computerized questionnaire but are not explained in the writing, involve a downward revision of the mark, and even its invalidation. Incomplete or incomprehensible written responses are considered invalid.
In the Test there are questions of different types:
- Theoretical questions: assess the level of understanding of statistical and methodological concepts
- Calculation exercises: indices or other statistical measures from numeric data provided in the text
- Theoretical exercises: they require linkages between studied arguments, definitions and properties, or to elaborate algebraic expressions to derive results in symbolic form
- Problems of various kinds: solvable with the help of statistical concepts and properties

Oral Test

Overcoming the Test gives you access to the oral test. The oral examination is only accessible after the test mark is positive. The oral is compulsory for everybody, for the confirmation of the mark.
The oral exam consists of verifying the written responses to the Test for the confirmation of the mark. In the oral exam concepts, measures and statistical indices may, if necessary, be further deepened in terms of understanding and interpreting. During the oral exam it may also be required to perform short, theoretical and computational exercises, of the same type as in the written test.

On line didactic matherials

Exam Info
Math Refresh
Lessons Calendar
Exams Calendar – Shifts and Results