Category Archives: Chapter 3
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
Trash the Focus of Anthropological Research in New York
New York University anthropologist Robin Nagle has found “a gold mine for garbage pickers.” New York’s Department of Sanitation collects almost 3.5 million tons of trash each year. The contents range from discarded photos of a divorced spouse and bottles … Continue reading
Do social scientists do better than pollsters?
One of the concerns that emerged from the recent scandal about apparently fictitious data in a published poll about support for same-sex marriage was whether public pollsters are less transparent in their methods than social scientists. Polling organizations are often … Continue reading
Increasing retractions, increasing fraud??
There has been a 20-25 percent increase in retractions in a total of 10,000 medical and science journals in the past five years (it’s now up to 500-600 retractions per year). Data has been distorted, faked, and the methods of getting … Continue reading
Where are our survey methods when we most need them?
Problems with sampling and response rates in phone surveys due to cell phones and answering machines continue to bedevil survey researchers. As the 2016 presidential election approaches, the reliability of election polling is increasingly a focus of concern. Predictions in some … Continue reading
Research Findings Too Good to be True
The level of popular acceptance of same-sex marriage has increased dramatically in recent years, but remains low in many areas. What if same-sex marriage proponents sent gay canvassers into neighborhoods to persuade opponents of gay marriage to change their potential … Continue reading
Is seeing believing? It’s natural to feel that when we observe events, or conduct lengthy interviews to learn what people saw or heard, we’re learning about the social world as it “really is.” But recent experiments by psychologists demonstrate a … Continue reading
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
Can We Save (More) Babies?
800 cities and towns have adopted a home visiting program for young mothers in an ambitious effort to reduce infant mortality in the U.S. Although home visiting programs have been used for more than a century, their popularity increased dramatically … Continue reading