Class 9:  Religion and Teen Birth Rate

 

Discussion

Read the article “Religion’s Link to Teen Pregnancy”

 

1)    How would you assign a number to quantify how religious a person is?  How would you assign a number to quantify how religious a state is?  How do you think these researchers did it? 

2)    How do you think the teen birth rate is defined?

3)    The correlation between religiosity and teen birth rate described in this article is an ecological correlation, because each data point is an average or rate for a state.  Why didn’t the researchers compute a correlation between values for individual people instead?

4)    Do you think that being more religious increases the teen birth rate? If so, why do you think this is? 

5)    Look at the list of states with low and high teen birth rates.  Do you notice any patterns?

6)    What other confounding factors could explain the correlation?

 

States with lowest teen birth rate

 

States with highest teen birth rate

New Hampshire

18.7

 

Mississippi

68.4

Vermont

20.8

 

New Mexico

64.1

Massachusetts

21.3

 

Texas

63.1

Connecticut

23.5

 

Arkansas

62.3

New Jersey

24.9

 

Arizona

62

New York

25.7

 

Oklahoma

59.6

Maine

25.8

 

Nevada

55.8

North Dakota

26.5

 

Tennessee

54.7

Minnesota

27.9

 

Kentucky

54.6

Wisconsin

30.9

 

Georgia

54.2

Pennsylvania

31

 

Louisiana

53.9

Iowa

32.9

 

Alabama

53.5

Nebraska

33.4

 

South Carolina

53

Washington

33.4

 

North Carolina

49.7

Maryland

33.6

 

Wyoming

47.3

 

 

 

 

 

Journal Assignment:

 

Read an article in the news that involves correlation.  A good way to find one is quickly is to go to the website of your favorite newspaper or magazine and search for the word “correlation”.  If you have trouble finding an article you like, or if you prefer, you can use the article Risky Business that is posted on Blackboard under Handouts -> Class 9. 

 

For whatever article you use, comment on the article and include answers to the following questions.   If you use your own article, please include a copy with your journal so that I can read it, too. 

 

1) What variables was the correlation between (e.g. height and weight, or temperature and crime rates, etc.)?  Which was thought of as the independent variable and which was the dependent variable? 

2) Was the correlation described in the article an ecological correlation or a correlation between values for individuals?

3) Was it a positive or negative correlation?  If mentioned, state the correlation coefficient. 

4) Discuss causation.  Does the article suggest that the independent variable caused the dependent variable to increase or decrease?   Is this plausible?  Do you agree?

5) Discuss strengths and weaknesses of the study.  Do you agree with its conclusions?  Why or why not?

 

Homework Assignment 9 for Tues, Sept. 29: 

On blackboard

 

Announcements

Journals due Tues Sept 29.  There are 4 journal assignments:  1) class survey data analysis, 2) SAT scores and family income plus picking colleges and drop-out rate, 3) correlation in meat consumption and height OR in another data set, 4) today’s assignment