Category Archives: Chapter 8

Political Polling: Still Viable?

Polling has captured the news as never before during the current presidential primary season.  But at the same time that polls are more popular than ever before, their reliability is lower than ever.  As you know from Chapter 8 on … Continue reading

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Measurement in Health Care and Education: Solution or Problem?

The desire to measure outcomes to monitor performance and improve health care and teaching is more than understandable: It would seem to go without saying for a research methodologist. But there can be too much of a good thing, as … Continue reading

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Cities, Nature, and Mental Health

Is a walk in the woods good for you?  It used to be a part of everyday life for people all over the world, but as civilization has progressed and people mostly live in urban areas, contact with nature has … Continue reading

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Perception and Measurement about Mental Illness

Does it surprise you to learn that a large longitudinal survey of parents has led to the conclusion that the rate of severe mental illness among children and adolescents has dropped considerably in the last generation?  The study involved ratings … Continue reading

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Do social scientists do better than pollsters?

One of the concerns that emerged from the recent scandal about apparently fictitious data in a published poll about support for same-sex marriage was whether public pollsters are less transparent in their methods than social scientists.  Polling organizations are often … Continue reading

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Where are our survey methods when we most need them?

Problems with sampling and response rates in phone surveys due to cell phones and answering machines continue to bedevil survey researchers. As the 2016 presidential election approaches, the reliability of election polling is increasingly a focus of concern.  Predictions in some … Continue reading

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Research Findings Too Good to be True

The level of popular acceptance of same-sex marriage has increased dramatically in recent years, but remains low in many areas. What if same-sex marriage proponents sent gay canvassers into neighborhoods to persuade opponents of gay marriage to change their potential … 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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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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