How can analyze the data for my thesis?

Research in the Social and Natural Sciences

The course

This course examines the ways in which social and natural scientists use theory, conceptual models, previous research and data to confirm or contradict hypotheses. Students examine the formulation of hypotheses and methods for their verification including the standard linear regression model, randomized controlled trials and mathematical simulation. The course focuses on the preparation of a senior honors thesis with explicit directions for the construction of a professional quality document. Course Prerequisites: Enrollment is restricted to members of UVM’s Honor’s program who are currently in their junior year and are planning to propose (but have not yet proposed) an honor’s thesis in a social or natural science discipline. There are no specific texts are required for this course. Exams: There are no exams. Grades will be based on homework assignments and a prospectus for the senior thesis, each accounting for 50 percent of course grade. Software: All homework problems will be done in Excel and submitted electronically. Mathematics: Algebra and some basic calculus will be used in the course. The course syllabus is updated throughout the semester. Dates are approximate.

Part 1: The research process: for and against method

  • Feyerabend Anarchistic theory of knowledge
  • Feynman Cargo cult science
  • Johnson Ten Most Beautiful Experiments

  • Part 2: Hypothesis testing: using basic statistics, regression, panel data,

  • Stock and Watson Linear regression
  • Smith Critique of RCT
  • Diamond Hard and Soft Science
  • Lehrer Accept Defeat
  • Meier Biggest Experiment
  • Mooney Why We Don't Believe Science

  • Part 3: Simulation

  • Anderson More is Different
  • Peixoto and Bornholdt Cartels
  • Wilenski NetLogo
  • NASA Columbia Accident Investigation Board

  • Part 4: Writing the thesis

    Tile, abstract, introduction, literature review, body, conclusion, references and appendices or supporting material.
  • Checklist
  • Graphs in Excel

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