Category Archives: Chapter 2
Fighting Extreme Poverty
Half a billion people live on less than 75 cents per day. Termed the “ultrapoor,” they often have too few resources to send their children to school or to save any money. What would it take to improve their conditions? … Continue reading
Political Polling: Still Viable?
Polling has captured the news as never before during the current presidential primary season. But at the same time that polls are more popular than ever before, their reliability is lower than ever. As you know from Chapter 8 on … Continue reading
Measurement in Health Care and Education: Solution or Problem?
The desire to measure outcomes to monitor performance and improve health care and teaching is more than understandable: It would seem to go without saying for a research methodologist. But there can be too much of a good thing, as … Continue reading
Would You Want Your Parents to Know?
A new experiment at Harvard’s Student Social Support R&D Lab indicates that students in a summer program did better when their parents received a weekly one-sentence about their children’s performance. The study used a randomize experimental design with students in … Continue reading
Perception and Measurement about Mental Illness
Does it surprise you to learn that a large longitudinal survey of parents has led to the conclusion that the rate of severe mental illness among children and adolescents has dropped considerably in the last generation? The study involved ratings … Continue reading
Psychics and Pseudoscience
With concerns about reproducibility of results and exposure of instances of fraud–not to mention conflicting research results about what you should eat and how often you should be tested, it is easy to become cynical about the value of scientific … Continue reading
Reproducibility? Not So Much.
When social scientists use exemplary methods and report their findings accurately, we like to think that they have found out something about the social world. Furthermore, it then seems that if another social scientist conducted the same study again, with … Continue reading
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
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