About the Book

Book Summary

Applied Statistics for the Social and Health Sciences provides graduate students in the social and health sciences with the basic skills they need to estimate, interpret,  present, and publish statistical models using contemporary standards. The book targets the social and health science branches such as education, human development, psychology, public health, social work, and sociology.  It helps students develop an appreciation for how statistical techniques answer research questions of interest to them and for how to understand publications that use these techniques.

Key features of the book include:

  • Interweaving statistical concepts with examples developed for the course from publicly-available social science data.
  • Thorough integration of teaching statistical theory with teaching data processing and analysis.
  • Teaching of both SAS and Stata side-by-side.
  • Use of chapter exercises in which students practice programming and interpretation on the same data set and course exercises in which students can choose their own research questions and data set.

Like Gordon’s Regression Analysis for the Social Sciences, the text Applied Statistics for the Social and Health Sciences offers an in-depth treatment of the basic OLS regression model.  It differs from the earlier book in the following major ways:

  • Inclusion of new literature excerpts, with broader coverage of the public health and education literatures.
  • Use of the National Health Interview Survey for chapter exercises (rather than the National Organizations Survey).
  • Inclusion of sections in many chapters that show how to implement the analysis techniques for data sets based on complex survey designs.
  • Coverage of basic univariate and bivariate descriptive and inferential statistics.
  • Coverage of the generalized linear model and maximum likelihood techniques for dichotomous outcomes and for multi-category nominal and ordinal outcomes.

Applied Statistics for the Social and Health Sciences can be used in its entirety for a year-long statistics sequence, or portions of the text can be used for semester- or quarter-long courses.

Author Biography

Rachel A. Gordon is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  Professor Gordon has multidisciplinary substantive and statistical training and a passion for understanding and teaching applied statistics.

Professor Gordon holds a PhD in public policy from the University of Chicago and a BS in psychology from Penn State University.  The University of Chicago’s public policy program is known for its high-quality econometric training.  While pursuing her PhD, Gordon received predoctoral training in demography at the University of Chicago’s Population Research Center.  Gordon’s BS rather than BA undergraduate degree reflects an undergraduate concentration in statistics, including psychometric, nonparametric and experimental methods.  She further studied psychometrics and took a qualifying examination in measurement theory as a graduate student.

Professor Gordon uses a wide variety of advanced techniques in her own work.  She has published a number of papers using hierarchical linear models and econometric fixed effects models in noted journals such as Criminology, Demography, Journal of Marriage and Family, Child Development, Social Science Research, and American Journal of Evaluation.  She is currently heading a team of researchers in a multi-faceted project that (1) uses psychometric techniques to define new measures of child care quality specific to domains of child health and development and (2) then uses regression modeling to relate these measures of provider and family characteristics and to child outcomes.  An Institute of Education Sciences grant (R305A090065) is funding the first part of the project which examines several research questions relevant to domains of quality in center- and school-based early childhood education programs using cross-sectional analyses. A National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development grant (5R01HD060711-02) is looking comprehensively at domains of child care quality from infancy through preschool and in family day care homes as well as child care centers using sophisticated longitudinal models.   

Gordon is completing her sixth term on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Marriage and Family , is a currently a Council Member for the Section on Children and Youth of the American Sociological Association (2009-2012 term), and a Steering Committee Member of the University-Based Child and Family Policy Consortium . She also served three terms as co-chair of the Committee on Research, Policy and Public Information of the Society for Research on Adolescence, was Review Panel Chair for Applied Research, Program Evaluation and Public Policy for the 2010 Society for Research on Adolescence Biennial Meeting, and is the co-chair of the Panel on Policy, Intervention, and Vulnerable Populations for the Society for Research on Child Development’s 2012 Themed Meeting on Transitions from Adolescence to Adulthood.

Professor Gordon began teaching statistics to others as an undergraduate tutor.  She has tutored others and taught statistics continuously since then, including co-teaching the core statistics course in the University of Chicago’s Masters of Public Policy program when she was a graduate student.  Most recently, Professor Gordon has taught the second course in the graduate statistics sequence in the Department of Sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago for nearly a decade.