Sociology Data Analysis

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By successfully completing this assignment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies and assignment criteria:

  • Competency 1: Describe theoretical ideas of power in relation to policy.
    • Compare differences between majority and minority groups, and groups based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, and social class.
  • Competency 2: Identify historical and contemporary influences of discrimination in American culture.
    • Detail the economic impact of discrimination.
    • Differentiate the varied experience of different social groups.
  • Competency 3: Analyze the effects of social policy using aggregated data.
    • Locate sources of sociological data.
    • Correlate data to a social policy position.
    • Properly document the use of data.
  • Competency 4: Analyze how laws are applied based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, and social class.
    • Summarize legislation and approaches to resolve social issues.
    • Compare how laws are enforced and prosecuted among different social groups.
    • Demonstrate the relationship among sociological theories, policies, and concepts.
    • Examine alternative solutions to diversity issues.
  • Competency 5: Apply diversity strategies in professional, educational, and personal contexts.
    • Recognize opportunities where diversity is needed to address social problems.
  • Competency 6: Communicate effectively in a variety of formats.
    • State and support a clear central idea in a coherently organized document.
    • Use the accepted form and style of the field.
    • Follow conventional rules for style, format, grammar, usage, and mechanics.
    • Respect the dignity, cultural and ethnic backgrounds, and individuality of other people.

This week’s focus is on institutional discrimination, or discrimination that may or may not be intentional and occurs within the context of, and as a result of policies and practices within, society’s core institutions, such as the workplace, the educational system, and the criminal justice system. For this assignment, you will focus on using data to determine the extent to which institutional discrimination occurs within the criminal justice system. In particular, you will assess one of the key arguments regarding institutional discrimination within the justice system: that U.S. criminal justice policies and practices in place as a result of the “War On Drugs” since the 1980s have disproportionately affected racial and ethnic minorities.

To complete this assignment, follow the steps below, pasting or typing the questions into a Microsoft Word document and responding to each question with thought and detail. Include a title page and a reference page in correct APA format. Incorporate in-text citations when you refer to the course material.

  1. To get started, first review data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), located in the Resources. The survey is a part of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Data Archive, provided by the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research. When you select one of the options, such as heroin use, you can then specify how the data is presented. To see statistics for heroin use based on race and ethnicity, select the “Heroin Use” link. Then select the following options in the drop-down lists:
    • Measure of Heroin Use: Select “Ever Used Heroin” first. Then select the other options to create additional graphs and charts as you would like.
    • Respondent Characteristics: Select “Race and Ethnicity.”
    • Confidence intervals: Use the default option, “(None displayed).”
    • Chart Options: Choose any of the options for viewing the chart, depending on how you would like the data to appear.
  2. Repeat this procedure for the other illegal drugs on the list, including marijuana (illegal in most states), crack, and cocaine. You can open each table in a new tab in your browser, which makes it easier to compare the data.

    Based on your review of the data, answer the following questions. Be sure to use specific data from the NSDUH charts and graphs to illustrate your points. Identify the name of the tables or graphs (for example, “Ever Used Heroin by Race” is the title of the table and graph produced when you followed the initial steps above).

    Question 1: Describe differences in illegal drug use based on race and ethnicity. Which racial and ethnic groups are most likely to use each illegal drug? Your response should contain at least 150 words.

  3. Next, take a look at drug arrests by race and ethnicity. This data is available on the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports Web site in their annual report, “Crime in the United States.” For the 2013 data on arrests, go to Persons Arrested, which is located in the Resources. You will see a list of table numbers on this page. Tables 43, 49, 55, 61, and 67 show data that include categories for race and ethnicity. Click on each table number to see the full tabular data. You will need to scroll down each table to look for the line labeled “Drug abuse violations.” Note that Table 43 provides the overall national picture regarding drug abuse arrests, while the other tables provide specific regional data based on the classifications of cities, counties, suburbs, and nonmetropolitan areas.

Based on your review of this data, answer the following questions. Be sure to use specific data from the FBI tables to support your points and clearly identify which tables you are referring to by specifying the table number.

Question 2: Describe differences in drug arrests based on race and ethnicity. Which racial and ethnic groups are most likely to be arrested for drug abuse violations? Your response should contain at least 150 words.

Question 3: Compare and contrast the data on drug use with drug arrests. What factors account for the discrepancy between who uses illegal drugs and who is arrested for drug abuse violations? To what extent have public policies or law enforcement strategies contributed to this disparity? Use at least one of this unit’s course readings to support your response. Your response should contain at least 250 words.

Question 4: What impact have the disparities you identified in Question 3 had on minorities and minority communities? What policy changes would you recommend for addressing these disparities? Discuss at least two potential solutions or strategies; these can be community-based, legislative (at the state or federal level), or law enforcement strategies. Your response should contain at least 250 words.


  • Describe and analyze trends related to drug use and drug arrests based on race and ethnicity.
  • Address the connection between criminal justice policies and strategies and the racial and ethnic disparities in drug use and arrest rates.
  • Explain the impact of racial disparities in drug use and arrest rates on minority groups and communities and identify ways to address these disparities.
  • Refer to and cite the course material in correct APA format.
  • Ensure responses meet the minimum indicated word counts, with a total length of approximately 2–3 pages.

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