Category Archives: Chapter 4

DALY health

What is the cost of disease? It is typical to calculate the cost of illness to society by counting the number of deaths.  The more people killed, the worse the disease.  But when people are disabled by illness, they are losing days … Continue reading

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Affective Realism?

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

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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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Is the Government’s Poverty Measure Too Simplistic?

You know from reading Chapter 4 on Conceptualization and Measurement (in ISW8) that the U.S. government’s official measure of poverty is based on a standard developed by Mollie Orshansky of the Social Security Administration 50 years ago. At that time, … Continue reading

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Movie “Facts” … or Fantasy?

Movies based on true stories often gain a wide audience.  Selma.  American Sniper. The Theory of Everything.  The Imitation Game.  I think you could call each of them a great movie.  But how accurate are they? Research by psychologists has … 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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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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