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Archive of posts filed under the Sociology category.

“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mentorship in academic collaborations and junior author performance” that I (Jessica) previously blogged about has been retracted from Nature Communications.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 […]

Why We Sleep—a tale of non-replication.

Good to have a non-coronavirus post that I can put on delay . . . After reading our recent post, “Why We Sleep — a tale of institutional failure”, David Shanks wrote: You may be interested to know that a little while ago we were completely unable to replicate a key result by Walker and […]

I ain’t the lotus

Some people wanted me to resolve this Minecraft dispute. But it’s so far outside my areas of expertise and interest that I have no plans to look into it. My reason for posting was that I thought it could interest some of the blog readership, not necessarily the same readers who are interested in posts […]

Red Team prepublication review update

A few months ago we wrote about the following project for prepublication review, as described by Ruben Arslan: A colleague recently asked me to be a neutral arbiter on his Red Team challenge. He picked me because I was skeptical of his research plans at a conference and because I recently put out a bug […]

IEEE’s Refusal to Issue Corrections

This is Jessica. The following was written by a colleague Steve Haroz on his attempt to make corrections to a paper he wrote published by IEEE (which, according to Wikipedia, publishes “over 30% of the world’s literature in the electrical and electronics engineering and computer science fields.”) One of the basic Mertonion norms of science […]

What’s Google’s definition of retractable?

Timnit Gebru, a computer scientist known best for her work on ethics and algorithmic bias in AI/ML applications like face recognition, was fired yesterday from co-leading Google’s Ethical Artificial Intelligence Team. Apparently this was triggered by an email she sent to members of her team. Social media is exploding over this, and I don’t have […]

Basbøll’s Audenesque paragraph on science writing, followed by a resurrection of a 10-year-old debate on Gladwell

I pointed Thomas Basbøll to my recent post, “Science is science writing; science writing is science,” and he in turn pointed me to his post from a few years ago, “Scientific Writing and ‘Science Writing,’” which stirringly begins: For me, 2015 will be the year that I [Basbøll] finally lost all respect for “science writing”. […]

The rise and fall and rise of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in international development

Gil Eyal sends along this fascinating paper coauthored with Luciana de Souza Leão, “The rise of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in international development in historical perspective.” Here’s the story: Although the buzz around RCT evaluations dates from the 2000s, we show that what we are witnessing now is a second wave of RCTs, while a […]

How science and science communication really work: coronavirus edition

Now that the election’s over, we can return to our regular coronavirus coverage. Nothing new since last night, so I wanted to share a couple of posts from a few months ago that I think remain relevant: No, there is no “tension between getting it fast and getting it right”: On first hearing, this statement […]

“In the world of educational technology, the future actually is what it used to be”

Following up on this post from Audrey Watters, Mark Palko writes: I [Palko] have been arguing for a while that the broad outlines of our concept of the future were mostly established in the late 19th/early 20th Centuries and put in its current form in the Postwar Period. Here are a few more data points […]

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