Category Archives: Chapter 1

Learn (and Teach) by Doing

Learning by “tinkering” has caught on at San Francisco’s Tinkering School. The idea is to enhance education by having children learn by carrying out projects. For example, have students form a construction crew to create a small cardboard city. Or … Continue reading

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Does Anonymity Change Behavior?

Do you use Yik Yak?  Do you wish everyone did?  This new social media app allows people in a small area–like students in college–post messages without being identified in any way.  It has resulted in some very offensive “yaks,” including … Continue reading

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Drinking on YouTube?

With the advent of YouTube videos, how can the methods of visual sociology do anything but increase in popularity?  But do videos show us a representative slice of the social world?  Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh concluded that what … Continue reading

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Messaging and Emotions

Our social relations are increasingly mediated with technology.  Does this distort our ability to relate to others?  Consider using text messages to communicate.  This truncated form of communication most leaves emotion out of the picture and so makes it difficult … Continue reading

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Measurement Validity for Twitter?

Twitter messages are being used increasingly to track public mood and interests. Social media and Big Data enthusiasts–and those of us who care about measurement validity–will be interested to know that a new investigation provides evidence of the validity of … Continue reading

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Facelessness and Social Research

Is “the world of faces” dissonant from “the world without faces”?  This question is posed in a New York Times article on the social problem created by our ability to communicate directly with others through social media without actually seeing … Continue reading

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Why Use Mixed Methods?

My SAGE Webinar on this topic is available at: http://youtu.be/oO3cspRrq4E Primary Sources: Schutt, Russell K. 2015. Investigating the Social World: The Process and Practice of Research, 8th ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications. http://www.sagepub.com/books/Book242232?siteId=sage-us&prodTypes=any&q=schutt&fs=1 Schutt, Russell K. 2011. Homelessness, Housing … Continue reading

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Big Data, Technology, and Teaching

Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee’s New York Times bestseller, The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies (W. W. Norton) argues that we are at an inflection point of exceptional change in society due … Continue reading

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How Low Can It Go?

Field researchers like to talk about the joys of “getting your hands dirty” by immersing yourself in the ongoing social life of a community.  But I’ll bet many researchers would balk at climbing down into sewers to collect their data! … Continue reading

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Who We Are and Who We Are Becoming

As a long-term resident of the Boston area and a college professor, it’s heartening to learn that Bostonians spend more on college than residents of others cities.  As I write yet another blog entry based on a newspaper article, it’s … Continue reading

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