Mathematical Tools for Social Scientists

Start: Sept. 26, 2011
End: Sept. 30, 2011
Place: Cologne, Germany
Organizer: GESIS (German Microdata Lab)
Research articles in social science journals and methods textbooks make increasingly use of matrix algebra and calculus. Thus, social scientists who seek to keep up with recent developments in data analysis methodology or want to get an in-depth understanding of common methods often find themselves confronted with mathematical notations they cannot read without special training. On the other hand, new data-analytical algorithms often are – long before they find their way into the more common packages such as SPSS or SAS – first implemented in matrix-oriented software packages such R, Matlab, GAUSS.

The course ”Mathematical Tools for Social Sciences“ is targeted at social scientists who want to gain an understanding of contemporary methods of quantitative data analysis, but for this purpose need to acquire an understanding of advanced mathematical notations and their implementation in statistical software – or, who intend to refresh their knowledge in these topics. That is, the course aims to familiarize with the mathematical tools of matrix algebra and statistical computation and their application using the software package R. The course will help in preparing for the more specialist courses at the GESIS Spring Seminar, the Essex Summer School or the ICPSR Summer Program, but will also benefit all researchers who just want to keep pace with recent developments in research methodology.

Topics will be

Notation and algebra of vectors and matrices

Probability distributions and random numbers

Geometry of linear regression and principal components

Derivatives of matrix and vector functions

Numerical solution of (non-linear) equations
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