Category Archives: Chapter 5

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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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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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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The Person Particle?

We all value our individuality, so it might be disconcerting to know that in new research about crowd behavior, some physicists have improved understanding of human behavior by thinking of people as particles.  Using cameras and analyses of big data sets … Continue reading

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More Money, More Marriage

Back in the 1970s, when I married, it seemed that everyone was getting divorced.  Articles by social scientists and others were full of prognostications about the end of marriage as an institution. But a recent New York Times article by Johns … Continue reading

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The Census in Afghanistan

Conducting a census is a challenge for any government, but imagine how those challenges are multiplied as the current government in Afghanistan makes a new effort to conduct a national census. It’s not just the continued threat of violence in … Continue reading

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