Duke University
Angel Harris


Professor of Sociology and African & African American Studies

Director, Program for Research on Education and Development of Youth (REDY)

Duke University
268 Soc/Psych Building
Durham, NC 27708

Phone: 919-660-5614
Fax: 919-660-5623







Courses Taught Page

Social Statistics (Undergrad/Graduate)

This course provides an introduction to statistical methodology in social research designed for the prospective social scientist or policy analyst. Previous exposure to probability, statistics, or econometrics is not expected. The course is taught at the level of Agresti and Finlay (2008), 4th Edition. We start with basic concepts such as measurement, populations, and samples, before discussing descriptive statistics that allow for the reduction of complex data to meaningful sample summaries. We then turn to probability theory and statistical inference, developing tools needed to measure uncertainty in our estimates and test hypotheses about unknown population quantities. The course covers relationships among variables, beginning with how quantitative outcomes vary with group membership. We also focus on relationships among variables using linear regression models. We use dummy variables to introduce qualitative predictors in our models and show how this leads to a unified regression framework that can handle both quantitative and qualitative predictors. The course also considers nominal and ordinal outcomes, and testing for independence and measuring association.



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Race, Social Inequality, and Education (Undergrad/Graduate)

Education is becoming increasingly important for upward social mobility in the U.S. and abroad. Education has been linked to societal inequalities in health, income, and other life-chance measures. Thus, schools play a central role in social and economic well-being, particularly for women and minority groups. Given that the minority population within the U.S. has been steadily increasing and is projected to comprise 45 to 50 percent of the U.S. population in 2050, understanding racial differences in achievement is important for scholars, educators, and policy makers. This seminar will focus on the role of education in both the production and amelioration of social inequality. Particular attention is given to racial achievement gaps. By engaging both quantitative and qualitative studies, you will acquire 1) knowledge of the historical trends and understanding of racial differences in achievement, and 2) a broad understanding of the current issues/debates in the literature. In addition to focusing on the relative underachievement of Blacks and Latino/as, this course will also focus on the academic success of Asian Americans and Asians living within the U.S.


Methods of Research (Undergrad)

This course is designed to introduce students to the intent and procedures of contemporary research methods. The course is divided into five parts. The first three weeks (part 1) will consist of an introduction to scientific/systematic observation, which includes coverage of the nature and logic of scientific inquiry and the conceptual process researchers engage in prior to conducting research that guides the research process. In weeks 4 through 5 (part 2) the course will cover research design (i.e., modes of observation). We will discuss the factors determining the selection of particular data gathering techniques, their strengths and weaknesses, and the ethical and political issues that researchers may encounter during the research process. Operationalization, sampling, and data analysis will be covered in weeks 6 through 8 (part 3). Students will learn how to determine what to measure, how to measure it, among what or whom to measure it from, and how to analyze what was measured. Weeks 9 through 10 (part 4) are designed to allow students the opportunity to discuss and apply the material in a seminar-type setting. The final two weeks of the semester will consist of student presentations (part 5). Although particular emphasis will be placed on the building and confirming of theoretical models, the course is also appropriate for students interested in applied/problem solving research.