Category Archives: Chapter 5

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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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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Race in Mexico

Slavery was abolished in Mexico in 1829, long before abolition in the United States during the Civil War.  Since then, race has often been overlooked as a basis of social differentiation in Mexico and it has not been measured with … Continue reading

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Political Polling by Microsoft?

When Microsoft talks, the market listens.  But what about when Cortana calls you on your cellphone to ask you some questions in a survey?  Will you listen?  “Cortana” is the name Microsoft has given to a new digital assistant it … Continue reading

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