Monday, July 10, 2006

Sociology Project III / Political Science Project I

Estimate the percentage of Americans responding "yes" to the following question:

Do you trust yourself, and the United States Government, both enough that you are certain that you will never find yourself morally compelled to commit an act which would be defined as "treason" or "terrorism" by the government, or agents thereof? (This excludes acts which are not prosecuted: i.e. if your someone who works at the Post Office gets upset with you and calls you a terrorist, but no charges are ever brought, this incident would not count for purposes of the question. "Yes" is the law-abiding answer.)

Now estimate the percentage of each of the following groups in your community who would answer "yes:"

1. Catholic women between 25 and 40 years of age
2. African-American men age 40 to 65
3. Women who identify their religious preference as Wiccan
4. All gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered people
5. Hispanic women under the age of 25
6. All Native Americans
7. White male Protestants under the age of 25
8. Whites who identify themselves as "very liberal" or "somewhat liberal"
9. All persons who identify their religious preference as Muslim
10. All persons who identify as atheist or agnostic

Next, perform the survey by telephone. Record:

the respondent's age range (under 25, 25-40, 40-65, over 65),
gender (including whether or not the respondent has always been legally recognized as his/r current legal gender),
religious affiliation,
ethnicity as reported on U.S. census data,
sexual orientation (straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual),
and political leaning (very liberal, somewhat liberal, middle-of-the-road, somewhat conservative, very conservative, libertarian, other/don't know)

These demographic subdivisions should be recorded before asking the question, to avoid attempts by prejudiced persons from answering falsely in order to make other groups look bad.

Ideally, you should have about 400 responses for a meaningful result; extra credit will be provided for additional responses at a rate of one percentage point for each additional 50 responses. You must be able to document all responses (phone numbers called, dates and times of the calls, recordings of the calls, or some similar method of proving that you did make the calls as recorded and got the responses you report) if asked to do so; failure to comply will result in a failing grade.

(You may also conduct the surveys by mail, and present the completed surveys as evidence, if you like, though be aware that self-selection may make your results invalid. Also, mailed surveys may not be enough to meet the 400-response requirement, so be sure to allow enough time to perform phone surveys if this becomes necessary. If you end up doing both kinds, report the method of response along with your other data.)

Write an analysis, after the compilation of all data, which summarizes trends across different demographics. Which groups see themselves as most likely to be in compliance with future U.S. governments? Did any respondents volunteer any comments which might explain differences between groups? How closely did your predictions match the actual results? What explains the differences between prediction and actual data, if any differences are significant?

Finally, write a three-page personal essay in which you answer the question yourself and explain your response.

1 comment:

Changeseeker said...

I think about this rather more than I wish I had to...sigh. Nice set up, though.