Research on Relationship Between Race & Racial Intermarriages

This homework assignment is designed to apply the knowledge and skills you have learned so far about 1). navigating the GSS database, 2). operationalizing concepts using quantitative measures from secondary survey sources, 3). selecting appropriate independent and dependent variables, 4). creating and analyzing crosstabs, and 5). testing hypotheses and reporting statistical findings.

Homework Prompt:

For this assignment, you will be using survey data from the GSS database to analyze a social issue or phenomenon that you are interested in. Selecting variables from the GSS, you will formulate and test a hypothesis that examines the relationship between two variables, an independent and dependent variable. You will also conduct a bivariate statistical analysis of your variables to test your hypothesis.

Picking a topic:

The GSS captures a wide range of societal attitudes, behaviors, and attributes around topics including race relations, sexual behavior, confidence in institutions, climate change, participation in religion, support for immigration, perceptions of police violence, rights to abortion, marijuana use, etc. You should spend some time exploring the different variables within the database to familiarize yourself with the various topics, issues, and questions you could explore.

Picking variables:

You will need to pick at least ONE dependent variable and ONE independent variable. Think carefully about how you conceptualize your topic using the dependent variable. What does your dependent variable “represent”? How can your dependent variable be an indicator to measure the dimension of your topic?

For example, if you are interested in studying racism, one of your indicators of racist or prejudicial beliefs could be measured using the variable RACMAR: “Do you think there should be laws against marriages between Negros/blacks/African-Americans and whites?” If respondents answer “yes” to this statement, this would be an indicator of racial prejudice.

If you were studying gender equality, you would need to find a variable to conceptualize and measure equality. You could use the variable FEHELP: “Do you strongly agree, agree, disagree, or strongly disagree that it is more important for a wife to help her husband’s career than to have on herself?” If respondents strongly agree or agree with this statement, this would be a measure of gender inequality.

Your independent variable can be a demographic or background variable (i.e. race, class, gender, marital status, political affiliation, etc.) or an attitudinal or behavior variable that you think is related to the dependent variable you selected.

Remember, the GSS does not always ask the same questions each year. Be mindful that both your dependent and independent variables have been asked during the same year(s). You can do this by controlling for the year. [See GSS Guideline Handout for instructions on how to select a particular year or timeframe.}


Please write a thoughtful paper using paragraphs which includes the following sections


o Briefly describe your social issue or topic in an interesting way.

o What is compelling about your issue or topic? What social problem or issue exists that you want to take a closer look at?

o What is your research question?

o Suggestion: “What is the relationship between [variable X] and [variable Y]?” or “Does X vary by Y?”

o Clearly state your (strong) hypothesis – what do you think is the relationship between your two variables? Why do you think this relationship exists?


o Describe your independent and dependent variables by including the following information:

o Explain how this variable operationalizes your topic and research question. How do they represent/measure/conceptualize your variable? How are they an indicator of a specific concept (i.e. race, class, gender, prejudice, civic engagement, attitude about gun control, etc.)?

o GSS variable code name

o Exact wording of the survey question

o List of attributes

o Level of measurement (i.e nominal, ordinal, etc.)

[Consider having a paragraph that describes your IV and another paragraph describing your DV.]

Results and Discussion

o Using your IV and DV, create a bivariate cross-tabulation table.

o Provide a “cleaned-up” table; do not simply “copy and paste” the GSS-website table. o Be sure to include: a title of the table, clearly labeled IV and DV variable, the attributes of each variable, percentages and number of responses in each cell, missing or invalid cases, and the source of the table. [See Babbie Chapter 14 for instructions on how to make a contingency table (p. 454).]

o Provide a detailed analysis of your cross-tabulation table.

o What patterns do you see between the variables? How do the dependent variable values change because of your independent variable? What trends do you see in the cells?

o If table cells have fewer than 30 respondents, you do not have enough data to generalize about that group, and you should state this in your analysis.

o Was your hypothesis supported – why or why not? [Hint: Do you see at least a 10% difference across the columns?