Category Archives: Chapter 4

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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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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