Guide to Course Selection: Instructional Tracks

The Summer Training Program courses are divided into several instructional groupings designed to satisfy the diverse methodological needs and interests of our participants.

Track I

Track I provides an introduction to quantitative methods.

These courses provide a basic integrated instructional program for faculty and research scholars who are attempting to develop or upgrade their quantitative competencies. Track I courses also introduce prerequisite skills to participants who intend to enroll in the Track II workshop, Introduction to Statistics and Data Analysis II. Finally, these courses constitute the minimal background for scholars who intend to participate in the workshops on Quantitative Historical Analysis; Quantitative Analysis of Crime and Criminal Justice; Game Theory: Basic Advanced Topics, and Rational Choice Theories of Politics and Society.

Track II

Track II provides an intermediate level of instruction.

Prerequisites for the workshops at the Track II level are an elementary college algebra course (e.g., ICPSR's Mathematics for Social Scientists I) and a solid course in applied statistics. Participants who enroll in the workshops will divide their time between attending classes and completing structured data analysis projects under the guidance of their instructors and the Summer Program computer staff.

Track III

Track III offers four-week courses and three- to five-day workshops. These are advanced workshops that belong to the statistics curriculum of the Summer Program and will be meaningful only to participants who have satisfied the prerequisites from Track II. In some cases, the content of these courses is on the frontier of the development of social and behavioral science methodology.

Substantive Workshops

The instructional focus of the substantive workshops is on the application of quantitative methods of analysis to particular substantive areas, rather than on the learning of new statistical and mathematical techniques.

Please note that Mathematics for Social Scientists I and II are best described as "skill" lectures. They provide mathematical tools to understand material presented in the statistics workshops. (Mathematics for Social Scientists I teaches algebra, which is used in Introduction to Statistics; Mathematics for Social Scientists II teaches matrix algebra, which is used in Regression Analysis and other courses.) In addition, Rational Choice, Game Theory, and Complex Systems Models are all modeling courses. They present alternatives to standard statistical models for representing or mapping social phenomena. Increasingly, these mathematical modeling techniques are complementing statistical models within the social science literature.