Computer Applications in the Social Sciences

Edward Brent Jr. and Ronald E. Anderson
Book Cover

HC: $70.50
EAN: 978-0-87722-666-6
Publication: Jan 90

384 pages
6 x 9

A comprehensive survey of the current and prospective uses of computers in the social sciences


Providing both an introduction to computing and advice on computer applications, the authors examine available hardware and software with respect to the needs of the social scientist. The book offers a systematic framework for the use of computers, with particular focus on the "work station," the center of which is a personal computer connected to networks by a telephone-based modem. The material ranges from sophisticated discussions of methodology to ideas for expanding everyday applications of computer techniques to virtual how-to-do-it advice. The various stages of academic work are addressed: from the research process (theory formulation, literature search, data gathering, etc.) to communicating with colleagues to teaching. The authors' encyclopedic coverage of computer applications in the social sciences includes such topics as simulation/modeling techniques, data management, statistical analysis, graphics, work processing, expert systems, and artificial intelligence. The chapters also review technical literature on computer hardware and software, behavioral literature (studies of how people actually use computers), and prescriptive literature on the research process itself. Computer Applications in the Social Sciences is not a computer manual, but a reference that includes sample programs and printouts for illustration. Brent and Anderson make compelling arguments for the importance of computer literacy and offer specific advice on how computers can improve efficiency and assist in creatively manipulating and presenting social science research.

Table of Contents

Part I: An Introduction to Computers 1. Introduction: Computer Literacy and the Social Sciences 2. Computer Hardware, Configurations, and Peripherals 3. Computer Software: Languages, Operating Systems, and Programs 4. Computing Environments 5. Managing Social Science Programming Part II: Software Tools 6. Available Software Tools 7. Issues and Strategies for Applications Management Part III: Applications in the Social and Behavioral Sciences 8. Theorizing about and Representing Social Data 9. Bibliographic Retrieval and Literature Reviews 10. Simulating, Modeling, and Planning 11. Managing Data 12. Analyzing Quantitative Data 13. Analyzing Text 14. Graphing 15. Writing and Rewriting 16. Communicating and Collaborating 17. Learning and Teaching 18. Expert Systems and Artificial Intelligence Applications in the Social Sciences 19. Social Issues and the Future of Computing References Glossary Index

About the Author(s)

Edward E. Brent, Jr. is a Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Ronald E. Anderson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis.