Essay Response (Please choose only one question to answer. Each response is worth 200 points.)
1). What do we mean when we assert that “X” causes “Y” to happen? What are the core criteria for causation, and how does experimentation help us to better achieve those criteria, relative to other research strategies?
2) Imagine that you were tasked with giving a lecture on sampling in the social sciences. Use this opportunity to explain to me the core concepts involved. In particular, you should cover probability versus non-probability methods, the central limit theorem and law of large numbers, and how these concepts matter. More broadly, you should address why we sample in the first place, as opposed to studying entire populations.
Short Response (Please choose two, and only two questions to answer. Each response is worth 25 points.)
1). Suppose you want to draw a probability sample of all U.S. intercollegiate athletes who are competing during the current academic year. Describe how you might use each of the basic probability sampling designs: simple random, stratified random, and multistage cluster. Then indicate which sampling design you think is best to use and why.
2). Following a senatorial election in California, a Los Angeles Times article pointed out that the polls are not as reliable as media portrayals would suggest. The author gave several examples of seemingly contradictory poll results in pre-election surveys; for example, one poll had one candidate ahead by 10 points and another poll had her trailing by 2. Suppose someone asks you to explain how this could occur. Assuming that all the polls were telephone surveys that used probability sampling, identify and briefly describe three possible sources of sampling error in the polls.
3). Suppose you wanted to study a rare, or hard to locate, sample of participants. What strategies might facilitate this best, and why?