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Archive of posts filed under the Sociology category.

Science reform can get so personal

This is Jessica. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about philosophy of science, motivated by both a longtime interest in methodological reform in the social sciences and a more recent interest in proposed ethics problems and reforms in computer science. The observation I want to share is not intended to support any particular stance, but […]

Rapid prepublication peer review

The following came in the email last week from Gordon Shotwell: You posted about an earlier pilot trial of calcifidiol, so I wanted to send you this larger study. The randomization is a bit funky and if you were interested it would be great to hear what sorts of inferences we can make about this […]

“Smell the Data”

Mike Maltz writes the following on ethnography and statistics: I got interested in ethnographic studies because of a concern for people analyzing data without an understanding of its origins and the way it was collected. An ethnographer collects stories, and too many statisticians disparage them, calling them “anecdotes” instead of real data. But stories are […]

Who are the culture heroes of today?

When I was a kid, the culture heroes were Hollywood and TV actors, pop musicians, athletes and coaches, historical political and military figures, then I guess you could go down the list of fame and consider authors, artists, scientists and inventors . . . . that’s about it, I think. Nowadays, we still have actors, […]

How to incorporate new data into our understanding? Sturgis rally example.

A colleague writes: This is a very provocative claim about the Sturgis rally—can you do a stats “fact check”? I’m curious if this has been subjected to statistical scrutiny. I replied that I’m curious why he said this study is provocative: It makes sense that when people get together and connect nodes in the social […]

“Where in your education were you taught about intellectual honesty?”

Haynes Goddard asks: Here is the question I want to put to this blog’s readers. Where in your education were you taught about intellectual honesty? I don’t mean academic dishonesty such as cheating and plagiarism which are actively controlled. I am told it is covered in classes on critical thinking, mainly in Philosophy Depts. Where […]

One more cartoon like this, and this blog will be obsolete.

This post is by Phil. This SMBC cartoon seems to wrap up about half of the content of this blog.  Of course I’m exaggerating. There will still be room for book reviews and cat photos.

Will the pandemic cause a decline in births? We’ll be able to resolve this particular debate in about 9 months . . .

The fallacy of the one-sided bet I’m gonna be talking about a news article and research paper asking the question, “Will coronavirus cause a baby boom, or is that just a myth?” And my problem is the fallacy of the one-sided bet: By asking the question, is there a positive effect or is it zero, […]

Social penumbras predict political attitudes

More crap from PPNAS: The political influence of a group is typically explained in terms of its size, geographic concentration, or the wealth and power of the group’s members. This article introduces another dimension, the penumbra, defined as the set of individuals in the population who are personally familiar with someone in that group. Distinct […]

“How We’re Duped by Data” and how we can do better

Richard Juster points us to this press release by Laura Counts from the business school of the University of California, promoting the work of Leif Nelson, one of the authors of the modern classic paper on “false-positive psychology” and “researcher degrees of freedom.” It’s great to see this sort of work get positive publicity. I […]

Three coronavirus quickies

1. Charles Horton writes: The existing research into ivermectin doesn’t generally strike me as very strong, with much of it showing up in non-peer-reviewed journals, or having other major flaws (i.e., the Hill study presents itself as a meta-analysis but of the 18 trials it collects, it only claims that two are high-quality—then analyzes all […]

Hey! Here’s a cool new book of stories about the collection of social data

I took a look at a new book, “Research exposed: How empirical social science gets done in the digital age,” edited by Eszter Hargittai and with chapters written by 17 authors, most of whom teach communication at various universities around the world. I don’t know anything about communication as an academic field, so I can’t […]

“Enhancing Academic Freedom and Transparency in Publishing Through Post-Publication Debate”: Some examples in the study of political conflict

Mike Spagat writes: You’ll definitely want to see this interesting paper by Kristian Gleditsch. Research and Politics, a journal for which Kristian Gleditsch is one of the editors, has hosted several valuable rounds of post-publication peer review. One instance starts with a paper of mine and Stijn van Weezel which replicated, critiqued and improved earlier […]

xkcd: “Curve-fitting methods and the messages they send”

We can’t go around linking to xkcd all the time or it would just fill up the blog, but this one is absolutely brilliant. You could use it as the basis for a statistics Ph.D. I came across it in this post from Palko, which is on the topic of that Dow 36,000 guy who […]

Authors retract the Nature Communications paper on female mentors

The paper “The association between early career informal mentorship in academic collaborations and junior author performance” that I (Jessica) previously blogged about has been retracted from Nature Communications.  Here’s the authors’ statement: The Authors are retracting this Article in response to criticisms about the assumptions underpinning the Article in terms of the identification of mentorship […]

Megan Higgs (statistician) and Anna Dreber (economist) on how to judge the success of a replication

The discussion started with this comment from Megan Higgs regarding a recent science replication initiative: I [Higgs] was immediately curious about their criteria for declaring a study replicated. In a quick skim of the info in the google form, here it is: In the survey of beliefs, you will be asked for (a) the probability […]

Most controversial posts of 2020

Last year we posted 635 entries on this blog. Above is a histogram of the number of comments on each of the posts. The bars are each of width 5, except that I made a special bar just for the posts with zero comments. There’s nothing special about zero here; some posts get only 1 […]

“Maybe the better analogy is that these people are museum curators and we’re telling them that their precious collection of Leonardos, which they have been augmenting at a rate of about one per month, include some fakes.”

Someone sent me a link to a recently published research paper and wrote: As far as any possible coverage on your blog goes, this one didn’t come from me, please. It just looks… baffling in a lot of different ways. OK, so it didn’t come from that person. I read the paper and replied: Oh, […]

“Translation Plagiarism”

Michael Dougherty writes: Disguised plagiarism often goes undetected. An especially subtle type of disguised plagiarism is translation plagiarism, which occurs when the work of one author is republished in a different language with authorship credit taken by someone else. I’ve seen this done, where the original language is statistics and the translated language is political […]

To all the reviewers we’ve loved before

This post is by Lizzie (I might forget to say that again, when I forget you can see it in the little blue text under the title, or you might just notice it as out of form). For the end of the year I am saluting the favorite review I received in 2020. This comes […]

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