Department of Sociology

Diane Coffey


PhD, Princeton University

Assistant Professor
Diane Coffey

Contact

  • Phone: 512-232-6915
  • Office: RLP 2.620D
  • Campus Mail Code: G1800

Biography


Diane Coffey is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology & Population Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin.  She is a social demographer who studies health in India.  One area of her research focuses on the intergenerational transmission of poor population health resulting from India's exceptionally poor maternal nutrition.  It traces links among gender, stratification, and poor birth, childhood, and adult health outcomes.  Her work on maternal health in India has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Social Science and Medicine, and the Indian Journal of Human Development.

Another area of Diane’s research finds consequences of poor sanitation in developing countries for early life health, including for mortality, height, and anemia.  She has also studied the causes of open defecation in rural India.  Rural India's exceptionally high rate of open defecation has much less to do with poverty than with social forces: the renegotiation of caste and untouchability leads people to reject the inexpensive latrines that prevent disease in other developing countries.  Her book on open defecation in India, with Dean Spears, is titled Where India Goes: Abandoned Toilets, Stunted Development, and the Costs of Caste, and won the Joseph W. Elder Prize in the Indian Social Sciences in 2017. 

Diane is also a visiting researcher at the Indian Statistical Institute in New Delhi, India, and prior to joining UT, she co-founded a research non-profit called r.i.c.e. which aims to inform policies about child health in India.  She received a B.A. in Sociology and Letters from Villanova University, and an MPA in Development Studies and a PhD in Public Affairs and Demography from Princeton University.

Courses


SOC 317L • Intro To Social Statistics

43725 • Spring 2020
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM GAR 3.116
QR MA

Description:

This course presents a general overview of the statistical methods used in the social sciences. While it’s important that you gain an understanding of the mathematical concepts behind the statistical analyses, it is of even greater importance that you leave this course with a conceptual and rational understanding of today’s most commonly used (and useful) statistical methods.

Truth claims made with statistics are abundant and often have the quality of facts in U.S. social and political life. Unfortunately, because many people do not understand the statistics undergirding these claims, they receive less scrutiny than they deserve. It is my primary goal to ensure that students learn the basic statistical literacy they need to be smart consumers of information. Our increasing reliance on statistics to understand the social world means that statistical and analytic skills are marketable skills. In fact statistics is one of very few classes that sociology majors take that provides them with concretely marketable skills. I believe that giving undergraduates a solid understanding of statistics is a way of democratizing knowledge and its production. In teaching statistics my goals are:

  •   To demystify statistics so that every student can be a smart consumer of quantitative information.

  •  To teach students to think sociologically with and about quantitative information.

  • To provide students with a solid foundation of quantitative and computing skills that could serve

    as assets in subsequent employment and academic settings.

  •   To demonstrate to students that learning statistics has practical applications outside of the       classroom in everyday life.

Texts:

Salkind, Neil J.. 2012. Statistics for People Who (Think They) Hate Statistics: Excel 2010 Edition. 3rd Edition. SAGE Publications. 

Grading and Reqirement:

I will use a non-competitive grading scale. In other words, the grade you receive will not depend on how well others have performed in class. You can earn a maximum of 115 points in this class. Your grade will be based on your mastery of each of the required tasks in the class. The grading scale for the final course grade is as follows: 115-94=A; 90-93=A-; 87-89=B+; 83-86=B; 80-82-B-; 77-79=C+; 73-76=C; 70-72=C-; 67- 69=D+; 63-66=D; 60-62=D-; 59 & below=F.

I do not give incomplete and will not change the final grade for whatever reason. You have plenty of opportunities to do well in this class. Use them.

If you receive a final grade of B+ or higher, I will write a personal recommendation for you in the future, stating that you have significant quantitative and computing skills.CLASS & LAB ATTENDANCE 10 PTS

As will be addressed later in detail, you have two free absences you can choose. However, I’d recommend you to use them only for emergencies. More than two absences will affect your class attendance grades negatively.

 

SOC 317L • Intro To Social Statistics

43730 • Spring 2020
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM GAR 3.116
QR MA

Description:

This course presents a general overview of the statistical methods used in the social sciences. While it’s important that you gain an understanding of the mathematical concepts behind the statistical analyses, it is of even greater importance that you leave this course with a conceptual and rational understanding of today’s most commonly used (and useful) statistical methods.

Truth claims made with statistics are abundant and often have the quality of facts in U.S. social and political life. Unfortunately, because many people do not understand the statistics undergirding these claims, they receive less scrutiny than they deserve. It is my primary goal to ensure that students learn the basic statistical literacy they need to be smart consumers of information. Our increasing reliance on statistics to understand the social world means that statistical and analytic skills are marketable skills. In fact statistics is one of very few classes that sociology majors take that provides them with concretely marketable skills. I believe that giving undergraduates a solid understanding of statistics is a way of democratizing knowledge and its production. In teaching statistics my goals are:

  •   To demystify statistics so that every student can be a smart consumer of quantitative information.

  •  To teach students to think sociologically with and about quantitative information.

  • To provide students with a solid foundation of quantitative and computing skills that could serve

    as assets in subsequent employment and academic settings.

  •   To demonstrate to students that learning statistics has practical applications outside of the       classroom in everyday life.

Texts:

Salkind, Neil J.. 2012. Statistics for People Who (Think They) Hate Statistics: Excel 2010 Edition. 3rd Edition. SAGE Publications. 

Grading and Reqirement:

I will use a non-competitive grading scale. In other words, the grade you receive will not depend on how well others have performed in class. You can earn a maximum of 115 points in this class. Your grade will be based on your mastery of each of the required tasks in the class. The grading scale for the final course grade is as follows: 115-94=A; 90-93=A-; 87-89=B+; 83-86=B; 80-82-B-; 77-79=C+; 73-76=C; 70-72=C-; 67- 69=D+; 63-66=D; 60-62=D-; 59 & below=F.

I do not give incomplete and will not change the final grade for whatever reason. You have plenty of opportunities to do well in this class. Use them.

If you receive a final grade of B+ or higher, I will write a personal recommendation for you in the future, stating that you have significant quantitative and computing skills.CLASS & LAB ATTENDANCE 10 PTS

As will be addressed later in detail, you have two free absences you can choose. However, I’d recommend you to use them only for emergencies. More than two absences will affect your class attendance grades negatively.

 

SOC 317L • Intro To Social Statistics

43450 • Fall 2019
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM RLP 0.118
QR MA

Description:

This course presents a general overview of the statistical methods used in the social sciences. While it’s important that you gain an understanding of the mathematical concepts behind the statistical analyses, it is of even greater importance that you leave this course with a conceptual and rational understanding of today’s most commonly used (and useful) statistical methods.

Truth claims made with statistics are abundant and often have the quality of facts in U.S. social and political life. Unfortunately, because many people do not understand the statistics undergirding these claims, they receive less scrutiny than they deserve. It is my primary goal to ensure that students learn the basic statistical literacy they need to be smart consumers of information. Our increasing reliance on statistics to understand the social world means that statistical and analytic skills are marketable skills. In fact statistics is one of very few classes that sociology majors take that provides them with concretely marketable skills. I believe that giving undergraduates a solid understanding of statistics is a way of democratizing knowledge and its production. In teaching statistics my goals are:

  •   To demystify statistics so that every student can be a smart consumer of quantitative information.

  •  To teach students to think sociologically with and about quantitative information.

  • To provide students with a solid foundation of quantitative and computing skills that could serve

    as assets in subsequent employment and academic settings.

  •   To demonstrate to students that learning statistics has practical applications outside of the       classroom in everyday life.

Texts:

Salkind, Neil J.. 2012. Statistics for People Who (Think They) Hate Statistics: Excel 2010 Edition. 3rd Edition. SAGE Publications. 

Grading and Reqirement:

I will use a non-competitive grading scale. In other words, the grade you receive will not depend on how well others have performed in class. You can earn a maximum of 115 points in this class. Your grade will be based on your mastery of each of the required tasks in the class. The grading scale for the final course grade is as follows: 115-94=A; 90-93=A-; 87-89=B+; 83-86=B; 80-82-B-; 77-79=C+; 73-76=C; 70-72=C-; 67- 69=D+; 63-66=D; 60-62=D-; 59 & below=F.

I do not give incomplete and will not change the final grade for whatever reason. You have plenty of opportunities to do well in this class. Use them.

If you receive a final grade of B+ or higher, I will write a personal recommendation for you in the future, stating that you have significant quantitative and computing skills.CLASS & LAB ATTENDANCE 10 PTS

As will be addressed later in detail, you have two free absences you can choose. However, I’d recommend you to use them only for emergencies. More than two absences will affect your class attendance grades negatively.

SOC 317L • Intro To Social Statistics

43455 • Fall 2019
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM RLP 0.118
QR MA

Description:

The news is full of statistical claims: in one October morning, I read that the brains of people with opioid addictions are less likely to respond to pictures of cute babies than the brains of people who are not addicted to opioids; that 50% more people in India become infected with tuberculosis each year than the World Health Organization previously thought; and that Hillary Clinton had an 89% chance of winning the November 2016 election. 

Where do the numbers come from?  What can they really tell us about the world?  These are the sorts of questions we ask in Introduction to Social Statistics.  Answering them is going to involve doing some math.  And while understanding the math behind the statistical concepts we will study is very important, it is even more important that you leave the course with a conceptual understanding of the most commonly used statistical tools. 

Here are three reasons why statistics is one of the most important courses you’ll take in college:

  1. The increasing availability of all kinds of data gives us an unprecedented ability to understand how humans behave.  Using numbers to describe the world can help us figure out what is true and important.
  2. Statistics are often used to make false or misleading claims: it is important to be able to identify false claims and explain what the numbers can and can’t tell us.
  3. Statistical and analytic skills are marketable: across the government, non-profit, and private sectors, a solid foundation in quantitative reasoning and computing skills are assets in employment settings.

Texts and required materials:

Main textbook: Please note we will use the 5th edition which is from 2006.

McCabe & Moore.  Introduction to the Practice of Statistics, McCabe & Moore, 5th Edition.  We will cover (approximately) Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

Supplementary problems: Please note we will use the 1st edition which is from 2011.

Frankfort-Nachmias, C., & Leon-Guerrero, A. (2011). Social statistics for a diverse society. Sage Publications.  1st edition.

I will use Canvas to post homework, data, and additional readings.

Grading and Requirements:

Although grading policies and course requirements are subject to change from year to year, prior students have completed 14 assignments for 30% of the grade, done 5 in-class exercises for 5% of the grade, and taken 3 exams for 35% of the grade.  Attendance and class participation were worth 30% of the grade.

SOC 317L • Intro To Social Statistics

44225 • Spring 2019
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM GAR 3.116
QR MA

Description:

The news is full of statistical claims: in one October morning, I read that the brains of people with opioid addictions are less likely to respond to pictures of cute babies than the brains of people who are not addicted to opioids; that 50% more people in India become infected with tuberculosis each year than the World Health Organization previously thought; and that Hillary Clinton had an 89% chance of winning the November 2016 election. 

Where do the numbers come from?  What can they really tell us about the world?  These are the sorts of questions we ask in Introduction to Social Statistics.  Answering them is going to involve doing some math.  And while understanding the math behind the statistical concepts we will study is very important, it is even more important that you leave the course with a conceptual understanding of the most commonly used statistical tools. 

Here are three reasons why statistics is one of the most important courses you’ll take in college:

  1. The increasing availability of all kinds of data gives us an unprecedented ability to understand how humans behave.  Using numbers to describe the world can help us figure out what is true and important.
  2. Statistics are often used to make false or misleading claims: it is important to be able to identify false claims and explain what the numbers can and can’t tell us.
  3. Statistical and analytic skills are marketable: across the government, non-profit, and private sectors, a solid foundation in quantitative reasoning and computing skills are assets in employment settings.

Texts and required materials:

Main textbook: Please note we will use the 5th edition which is from 2006.

McCabe & Moore.  Introduction to the Practice of Statistics, McCabe & Moore, 5th Edition.  We will cover (approximately) Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

Supplementary problems: Please note we will use the 1st edition which is from 2011.

Frankfort-Nachmias, C., & Leon-Guerrero, A. (2011). Social statistics for a diverse society. Sage Publications.  1st edition.

I will use Canvas to post homework, data, and additional readings.

Grading and Requirements:

Although grading policies and course requirements are subject to change from year to year, prior students have completed 14 assignments for 30% of the grade, done 5 in-class exercises for 5% of the grade, and taken 3 exams for 35% of the grade.  Attendance and class participation were worth 30% of the grade.

SOC 317L • Intro To Social Statistics

44235 • Spring 2019
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM GAR 3.116
QR MA

Description:

The news is full of statistical claims: in one October morning, I read that the brains of people with opioid addictions are less likely to respond to pictures of cute babies than the brains of people who are not addicted to opioids; that 50% more people in India become infected with tuberculosis each year than the World Health Organization previously thought; and that Hillary Clinton had an 89% chance of winning the November 2016 election. 

Where do the numbers come from?  What can they really tell us about the world?  These are the sorts of questions we ask in Introduction to Social Statistics.  Answering them is going to involve doing some math.  And while understanding the math behind the statistical concepts we will study is very important, it is even more important that you leave the course with a conceptual understanding of the most commonly used statistical tools. 

Here are three reasons why statistics is one of the most important courses you’ll take in college:

  1. The increasing availability of all kinds of data gives us an unprecedented ability to understand how humans behave.  Using numbers to describe the world can help us figure out what is true and important.
  2. Statistics are often used to make false or misleading claims: it is important to be able to identify false claims and explain what the numbers can and can’t tell us.
  3. Statistical and analytic skills are marketable: across the government, non-profit, and private sectors, a solid foundation in quantitative reasoning and computing skills are assets in employment settings.

Texts and required materials:

Main textbook: Please note we will use the 5th edition which is from 2006.

McCabe & Moore.  Introduction to the Practice of Statistics, McCabe & Moore, 5th Edition.  We will cover (approximately) Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

Supplementary problems: Please note we will use the 1st edition which is from 2011.

Frankfort-Nachmias, C., & Leon-Guerrero, A. (2011). Social statistics for a diverse society. Sage Publications.  1st edition.

I will use Canvas to post homework, data, and additional readings.

Grading and Requirements:

Although grading policies and course requirements are subject to change from year to year, prior students have completed 14 assignments for 30% of the grade, done 5 in-class exercises for 5% of the grade, and taken 3 exams for 35% of the grade.  Attendance and class participation were worth 30% of the grade.

SOC 317L • Intro To Social Statistics

44875 • Spring 2018
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM GAR 3.116
QR

Description:

The news is full of statistical claims: in one October morning, I read that the brains of people with opioid addictions are less likely to respond to pictures of cute babies than the brains of people who are not addicted to opioids; that 50% more people in India become infected with tuberculosis each year than the World Health Organization previously thought; and that Hillary Clinton had an 89% chance of winning the November 2016 election. 

Where do the numbers come from?  What can they really tell us about the world?  These are the sorts of questions we ask in Introduction to Social Statistics.  Answering them is going to involve doing some math.  And while understanding the math behind the statistical concepts we will study is very important, it is even more important that you leave the course with a conceptual understanding of the most commonly used statistical tools. 

Here are three reasons why statistics is one of the most important courses you’ll take in college:

  1. The increasing availability of all kinds of data gives us an unprecedented ability to understand how humans behave.  Using numbers to describe the world can help us figure out what is true and important.
  2. Statistics are often used to make false or misleading claims: it is important to be able to identify false claims and explain what the numbers can and can’t tell us.
  3. Statistical and analytic skills are marketable: across the government, non-profit, and private sectors, a solid foundation in quantitative reasoning and computing skills are assets in employment settings.

Texts and required materials:

Main textbook: Please note we will use the 5th edition which is from 2006.

McCabe & Moore.  Introduction to the Practice of Statistics, McCabe & Moore, 5th Edition.  We will cover (approximately) Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

Supplementary problems: Please note we will use the 1st edition which is from 2011.

Frankfort-Nachmias, C., & Leon-Guerrero, A. (2011). Social statistics for a diverse society. Sage Publications.  1st edition.

I will use Canvas to post homework, data, and additional readings.

Grading and Requirements:

Although grading policies and course requirements are subject to change from year to year, prior students have completed 14 assignments for 30% of the grade, done 5 in-class exercises for 5% of the grade, and taken 3 exams for 35% of the grade.  Attendance and class participation were worth 30% of the grade.

SOC 317L • Intro To Social Statistics

44885 • Spring 2018
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM GAR 3.116
QR

Description:

The news is full of statistical claims: in one October morning, I read that the brains of people with opioid addictions are less likely to respond to pictures of cute babies than the brains of people who are not addicted to opioids; that 50% more people in India become infected with tuberculosis each year than the World Health Organization previously thought; and that Hillary Clinton had an 89% chance of winning the November 2016 election. 

Where do the numbers come from?  What can they really tell us about the world?  These are the sorts of questions we ask in Introduction to Social Statistics.  Answering them is going to involve doing some math.  And while understanding the math behind the statistical concepts we will study is very important, it is even more important that you leave the course with a conceptual understanding of the most commonly used statistical tools. 

Here are three reasons why statistics is one of the most important courses you’ll take in college:

  1. The increasing availability of all kinds of data gives us an unprecedented ability to understand how humans behave.  Using numbers to describe the world can help us figure out what is true and important.
  2. Statistics are often used to make false or misleading claims: it is important to be able to identify false claims and explain what the numbers can and can’t tell us.
  3. Statistical and analytic skills are marketable: across the government, non-profit, and private sectors, a solid foundation in quantitative reasoning and computing skills are assets in employment settings.

Texts and required materials:

Main textbook: Please note we will use the 5th edition which is from 2006.

McCabe & Moore.  Introduction to the Practice of Statistics, McCabe & Moore, 5th Edition.  We will cover (approximately) Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

Supplementary problems: Please note we will use the 1st edition which is from 2011.

Frankfort-Nachmias, C., & Leon-Guerrero, A. (2011). Social statistics for a diverse society. Sage Publications.  1st edition.

I will use Canvas to post homework, data, and additional readings.

Grading and Requirements:

Although grading policies and course requirements are subject to change from year to year, prior students have completed 14 assignments for 30% of the grade, done 5 in-class exercises for 5% of the grade, and taken 3 exams for 35% of the grade.  Attendance and class participation were worth 30% of the grade.

SOC 317L • Intro To Social Statistics

45385 • Spring 2017
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM CLA 0.118
QR

Description:

The news is full of statistical claims: just this morning, I read that the brains of people with opioid addictions are less likely to respond to pictures of cute babies than the brains of people who are not addicted to opioids; that 50% more people in India become infected with tuberculosis each year than the World Health Organization previously thought; and that Hillary Clinton has an 89% chance of winning the election. 

Where do the numbers come from?  What can they really tell us about the world?  These are the sorts of questions we will ask in Introduction to Social Statistics.  Answering them is going to involve doing some math.  And while understanding the math behind the statistical concepts we will study is very important, it is even more important that you leave the course with a conceptual understanding of the most commonly used statistical methods. 

Why is important to understand statistics?  Here are a few reasons:

  • The increasing availability of all kinds of data gives us an unprecedented ability to understand how humans behave.  Using numbers to describe the world can help us figure out what is true and important.
  • Statistics are often used to make false or misleading claims: it is important to be able to identify these and explain what the numbers can tell us, and what they cannot.
    • Statistical and analytic skills are marketable: in the government, non-profit, and private sectors, a solid foundation of quantitative and computing skills are often important assets.

Required texts:

McCabe & Moore.  Introduction to the Practice of Statistics, McCabe & Moore, 5th Edition.  We will cover (approximately) Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

Text available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Practice-Statistics-David-Moore/dp/0716764008/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1478098832&sr=8-1&keywords=Introduction+to+the+practice+of+statistics+5th+edition

Students will also need to use Microsoft Excel to prepare projects and assignments. 

I will also use Canvas to post homework, data, and additional readings.

Grading Policy:

TBD.

 

 

 

 

 

SOC 389K • Training Smnr In Demography

45620 • Spring 2017
Meets F 10:00AM-12:00PM CLA 3.106

Description:

This course is taught every spring and is ideally taken in the third year of a student’s program. This course is taken as one of the last of a student’s sequence, often in the semester during which students take their comprehensive examinations. In this course, emphasis is placed on writing papers for publication and preparing grant proposals. By the end of the third year in our program, students in population studies are expected to submit an original research paper to a peer-reviewed journal.  Training Seminar II (in spring) meet in the mornings prior to the Brownbag Series talk and as such, require that students attend each weekly presentation. Further, the Brownbag speaker often spends time in the Training Seminar prior to their actual presentation, providing an opportunity for our trainees to meet highly visible visiting researchers.

Course Outline and Readings:

Course material will in part respond to student demand.  Some of the topics that we may cover are: 

  1. Job talks. Strategy, content, preparation
  2. Research Agendas with long-term planning for the job market
  3. CVs with long-term planning for the job market (conference activities, publications, awards)
  4. Dissertations: Topics, committees, proposal, process, defense—with an eye to getting a job
  5. Conference presentations
  6. Writing for academic journals
  7. Publishing in academic journals
  8. Grant writing
  9. Collaborations: Authorship, efficiency, ethics
  10. Reviewing articles
  11. Postdocs: What’s a postdoc? Why do it?
  12. Navigating the job market and going on interviews

Grading Policy:

 

TBD.

 

 

 

Curriculum Vitae


Profile Pages


External Links



  • Department of Sociology

    The University of Texas at Austin
    305 E 23rd St, A1700
    RLP 3.306
    Austin, TX 78712-1086
    512-232-6300