Category Archives: Chapter 3

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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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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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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Rigorous Evidence Should Inform Spending

Ron Haskins began the new year on a positive note.  The co-director of the Center on Children and Families at the Brookings Institution, Haskins reports that “a growing body of evidence shows that a few model social programs” work, and … Continue reading

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Secret photographing of classes at Harvard??

Maybe you missed it, but it has been big news in the Boston area:  classes were secretly photographed in spring 2014 as part of a Harvard University research project about classroom attendance. About 2,000 students in 10 lecture halls were … Continue reading

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So much to do, So little time to do it

I often feel this way as I plan my research methods class and think about activities to assign. Of course, I’ve sort of created the problem in Investigating the Social World by including far more exercises and other activities for … Continue reading

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Crossing the Political Line?

In the Big Data world, a small experiment can have a big impact.  Stanford University political scientists Adam Bonica and Jonathan Rodden, and Dartmouth’s Kyle Dropp designed a Big Data experiment to test whether information on the ideological preferences of … Continue reading

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Privacy? Are We Losing It?

Privacy is precious for many reasons, but it is rapidly being lost in online interaction.  Houston journalist Kate Murphy points out in a New York Times article that research shows that privacy is associated with higher self-esteem and creativity, as … Continue reading

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