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Archive of posts filed under the Sociology category.

Hey, people are doing the multiverse!

Elio Campitelli writes: I’ve just saw this image in a paper discussing the weight of evidence for a “hiatus” in the global warming signal and immediately thought of the garden of forking paths. From the paper: Tree representation of choices to represent and test pause-periods. The ‘pause’ is defined as either no-trend or a slow-trend. […]

“In 1997 Latanya Sweeney dramatically demonstrated that supposedly anonymized data was not anonymous,” but “Over 20 journals turned down her paper . . . and nobody wanted to fund privacy research that might reach uncomfortable conclusions.”

Tom Daula writes: I think this story from John Cook is a different perspective on replication and how scientists respond to errors. In particular the final paragraph: There’s a perennial debate over whether it is best to make security and privacy flaws public or to suppress them. The consensus, as much as there is a […]

Horse-and-buggy era officially ends for survey research

Peter Enns writes: Given the various comments on your blog about evolving survey methods (e.g., Of buggy whips and moral hazards; or, Sympathy for the Aapor), I thought you might be interested that the Roper Center has updated its acquisitions policy and is now accepting non-probability samples and other methods. This is an exciting move […]

Did blind orchestra auditions really benefit women?

You’re blind! And you can’t see You need to wear some glasses Like D.M.C. Someone pointed me to this post, “Orchestrating false beliefs about gender discrimination,” by Jonatan Pallesen criticizing a famous paper from 2000, “Orchestrating Impartiality: The Impact of ‘Blind’ Auditions on Female Musicians,” by Claudia Goldin and Cecilia Rouse. We’ve all heard the […]

Olivia Goldhill and Jesse Singal report on the Implicit Association Test

A psychology researcher whom I don’t know writes: In case you aren’t already aware of it, here is a rather lengthy article pointing out challenges to the Implicit Association Test. What I found disturbing was this paragraph: Greenwald explicitly discouraged me from writing this article. ‘Debates about scientific interpretation belong in scientific journals, not popular […]

“One should always beat a dead horse because the horse is never really dead”

Paul Alper came up with the above aphorism after reading this news article by Charles Ornstein and Katie Thomas, which goes as follows: What These Medical Journals Don’t Reveal: Top Doctors’ Ties to Industry One is dean of Yale’s medical school. Another is the director of a cancer center in Texas. A third is the […]

Continuing discussion of status threat and presidential elections, with discussion of challenge of causal inference from survey data

Last year we reported on an article by sociologist Steve Morgan, criticizing a published paper by political scientist Diana Mutz. A couple months later we updated with Mutz’s response to Morgan’s critique. Finally, Morgan has published a reply to Mutz’s response to Morgan’s comments on Mutz’s paper. Here’s a passage that is of methodological interest: […]

“Appendix: Why we are publishing this here instead of as a letter to the editor in the journal”

David Allison points us to this letter he wrote with Cynthia Kroeger and Andrew Brown: Unsubstantiated conclusions in randomized controlled trial of binge eating program due to Differences in Nominal Significance (DINS) Error Cachelin et al. tested the effects of a culturally adapted, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy-based, guided self-help (CBTgsh) intervention on binge eating reduction . […]

Lessons about statistics and research methods from that racial attitudes example

Yesterday we shared some discussions of recent survey results on racial attitudes. For students and teachers of statistics or research methods, I think the key takeaway should be that you don’t want to pull out just one number from a survey; you want to get the big picture by looking at multiple questions, multiple years, […]

Changing racial differences in attitudes on changing racial differences

Elin Waring writes: Have you been following the release of GSS results this year? I had been vaguely aware that there was reporting on a few items but then I happened to run the natrace and natracey variables (I use these in my class to look at question wording), they are from the are we […]

“How Sloppy Science Creates Worthless Cures, Crushes Hope, and Wastes Billions” . . . and still stays around even after it’s been retracted

Chuck Jackson points to two items of possible interest: Rigor Mortis: How Sloppy Science Creates Worthless Cures, Crushes Hope, and Wastes Billions, by Richard Harris. Review here by Leonard Freedman. Retractions do not work very well, by Ken Cor and Gaurav Sood. This post by Tyler Cowen brought this paper to my attention. Here’s a […]

Research topic on the geography of partisan prejudice (more generally, county-level estimates using MRP)

1. An estimate of the geography of partisan prejudice My colleagues David Rothschild and Tobi Konitzer recently published this MRP analysis, “The Geography of Partisan Prejudice: A guide to the most—and least—politically open-minded counties in America,” written up by Amanda Ripley, Rekha Tenjarla, and Angela He. Ripley et al. write: In general, the most politically […]

“Heckman curve” update: The data don’t seem to support the claim that human capital investments are most effective when targeted at younger ages.

David Rea and Tony Burton write: The Heckman Curve describes the rate of return to public investments in human capital for the disadvantaged as rapidly diminishing with age. Investments early in the life course are characterised as providing significantly higher rates of return compared to investments targeted at young people and adults. This paper uses […]

Thinking about “Abandon statistical significance,” p-values, etc.

We had some good discussion the other day following up on the article, “Retire Statistical Significance,” by Valentin Amrhein, Sander Greenland, and Blake McShane. I have a lot to say, and it’s hard to put it all together, in part because my collaborators and I have said much of it already, in various forms. For […]

Impact of published research on behavior and avoidable fatalities

In a paper entitled, “Impact of published research on behavior and avoidable fatalities,” Addison Kramer, Alexandra Kirk, Faizaan Easton, and Bertram Hester write: There has long been speculation of an “informational backfire effect,” whereby the publication of questionable scientific claims can lead to behavioral changes that are counterproductive in the aggregate. Concerns of informational backfire […]

How to approach a social science research problem when you have data and a couple different ways you could proceed?

tl;dr: Someone asks me a question, I can’t really tell what he’s talking about, so I offer some generic advice. Joe Hoover writes: An issue has come up in my subsequent analyses, which uses my MrsP estimates to explore the relationship between county-level moral values and the county-level distribution of hate groups, as defined by […]

An interview with Tina Fernandes Botts

Hey—this is cool! What happened was, I was scanning this list of Springbrook High School alumni. And I was like, Tina Fernandes? Class of 1982? I know that person. We didn’t know each other well, but I guess we must have been in the same homeroom a few times? All I can remember from back […]

Surgeon promotes fraudulent research that kills people; his employer, a leading hospital, defends him and attacks whistleblowers. Business as usual.

Paul Alper writes: A couple of time at my suggestion, you’ve blogged about Paulo Macchiarini. Here is an update from Susan Perry in which she interviews the director of the Swedish documentary about Macchiarini: Indeed, Macchiarini made it sound as if his patients had recovered their health when, in fact, the synthetic tracheas he had […]

Should we talk less about bad social science research and more about bad medical research?

Paul Alper pointed me to this news story, “Harvard Calls for Retraction of Dozens of Studies by Noted Cardiac Researcher: Some 31 studies by Dr. Piero Anversa contain fabricated or falsified data, officials concluded. Dr. Anversa popularized the idea of stem cell treatment for damaged hearts.” I replied: Ahhh, Harvard . . . the reporter […]

“Retire Statistical Significance”: The discussion.

So, the paper by Valentin Amrhein, Sander Greenland, and Blake McShane that we discussed a few weeks ago has just appeared online as a comment piece in Nature, along with a letter with hundreds (or is it thousands?) of supporting signatures. Following the first circulation of that article, the authors of that article and some […]