AN455      Half Unit
Statistics and Causal Analysis for Social Anthropologists

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Radu Umbres


This course is available on the MSc in Social Anthropology (Research). This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

This course aims to provide anthropology students with proficiency in using and interpreting quantitative data with readily available software. It is for those new to quantitative analysis, and designed to complement ethnographic methods of analysis. The following areas are addressed: descriptive statistics; hypothesis testing; exploratory statistical data analysis; statistical inference and measures of association. The objectives are to equip students to understand some basic principles of statistical analysis and sampling methods, to apply them appropriately in their own research, to read critically anthropological texts in which these methods are applied or referred to. Particular attention will be paid to the connections between statistical analysis and causal explanation, and the complementary use of quantitative and qualitative methods. Specific statistical tests will be taught, but most emphasis will be placed on understanding the reasoning behind them. Practical work will be based on a range of anthropological data sets with different substantive and technical features, and will include discussion of possible applications to students' own research plans, including the practicalities of data gathering, and hands-on training in the use of Excel and SPSS. Week 1: - Designing field studies and sampling schemes. Week 2: - Designing questionnaires. Week 3: - Processing data; creating spreadsheets, tables and graphs, descriptive statistics. Week 4: - Probabilities and hypothesis testing. Week 5: - Correlation and regression. Week 6: - Reading week, no class. Week 7: - Multiple regression. Week 8: - Univariate measures of group difference, Mann-Whitney U-test, Kruskal-Wallis. Week 9: - Contingency tables and odds ratios. Week 10: - Logistic regression. Week 11: - Final Exam


20 hours of lectures and 20 hours of seminars in the LT. 2 hours of lectures and 2 hours of seminars in the ST.

Introductory session MT. Weekly lectures LT, weekly seminars LT. Note that teaching takes place within UCL term times, which may be slightly different from LSE's.

Indicative reading

A. Agresti & B. Finlay, 1997, Statistical Methods for Social Sciences; L. Madrigal, 1998, Statistics for Anthropology; G. Kalton, 1983, Introduction to Survey Sampling; R. Henkel, 1976, Tests of Significance; M. Lewis-Beck, 1980, Applied Regression An Introduction; C. Achen, 1982, Interpreting and Using Regression; J. Gibbons, 1982, Nonparametric Statistics. An Introduction; T. Rudas, 1997, Odds Ratios in the Analysis of Contingency Tables; D. Knoke and P. Burke, 1980, Log-Linear Models; H. R. Bernard, 2006, Research Methods in Anthropology; C. Marsh, 1988, Exploring Data - An Introduction to Data Analysis for Social Scientists; T. Wonnacott and R. Wonnacott, 1990, Introductory Statistics.


Continuous assessment (50%) and in class assessment (50%) in the LT.

There will be a practical assignment given each week, which will be due by the next class meeting. Practical assignments (50%) can be worked on during the practical session, and TA assistance will be available during this practical. Answers to each practical will be made available on the Moodle page after each submission deadline (no late submissions accepted). There will be a final examination (50%) during the last class meeting in the form of a series of practical exercises done and submitted in class.

Key facts

Department: Anthropology

Total students 2012/13: 8

Average class size 2012/13: 8

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information