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Archive of posts filed under the Sociology category.

Harking, Sharking, Tharking

Bert Gunter writes: You may already have seen this [“Harking, Sharking, and Tharking: Making the Case for Post Hoc Analysis of Scientific Data,” John Hollenbeck, Patrick Wright]. It discusses many of the same themes that you and others have highlighted in the special American Statistician issue and elsewhere, but does so from a slightly different […]

Things I didn’t have time to talk about yesterday at the Metascience conference

– Sane, reasonable, . . . and wrong. Here I was going to talk about some reasonable and moderate-sounding recommendations that I think miss some key issues. – The fractal nature of scientific revolution. I’ve talked about this a lot, for example in 2005, 2007, and 2012. – Workflow. My plan here was to talk […]

A world of Wansinks in medical research: “So I guess what I’m trying to get at is I wonder how common it is for clinicians to rely on med students to do their data analysis for them, and how often this work then gets published”

In the context of a conversation regarding sloppy research practices, Jordan Anaya writes: It reminds me of my friends in residency. Basically, while they were med students for some reason clinicians decided to get them to analyze data in their spare time. I’m not saying my friends are stupid, but they have no stats or […]

It’s not just p=0.048 vs. p=0.052

Peter Dorman points to this post on statistical significance and p-values by Timothy Taylor, editor of the Journal of Economic Perspectives, a highly influential publication of the American Economic Association. I have some problems with what Taylor writes, but for now I’ll just take it as representing a certain view, the perspective of a thoughtful […]

The ladder of social science reasoning, 4 statements in increasing order of generality, or Why didn’t they say they were sorry when it turned out they’d messed up?

Is the effect they found too large to believe? (the effect of breakfast macronutrients on social decisions)

Someone who wishes to remain anonymous writes: Have you seen this paper? I [my correspondent] don’t see any obvious problems, but the results fall into the typical social psychology case “unbelievably large effects of small manipulations”. They even say so themselves: We provided converging evidence from two studies showing that a relatively small variation in […]

“I am a writer for our school newspaper, the BHS Blueprint, and I am writing an article about our school’s new growth mindset initiative.”

Caleb VanArragon writes: I am a student at Blaine High School in Blaine, Minnesota. I am a writer for our school newspaper, the BHS Blueprint, and I am writing an article about our school’s new growth mindset initiative. I was wondering if you would be willing to answer a couple of questions about your study […]

“No, cardiac arrests are not more common on Monday mornings, study finds”

Paul Alper points us to this news report by Susan Perry. I have no idea how good this study is—I have not looked at it at all, except to pull out those two ugly-but-somewhat-functional graphs above (where “SCA” stands for “sudden cardiac arrest”)—but I wanted to convey my approval for a news story reporting a […]

Multilevel structured (regression) and post-stratification

My enemies are all too familiar. They’re the ones who used to call me friend – Jawbreaker Well I am back from Australia where I gave a whole pile of talks and drank more coffee than is probably a good idea. So I’m pretty jetlagged and I’m supposed to be writing my tenure packet, so […]

Amending Conquest’s Law to account for selection bias

Robert Conquest was a historian who published critical studies of the Soviet Union and whose famous “First Law” is, “Everybody is reactionary on subjects he knows about.” I did some searching on the internet, and the most authoritative source seems to be this quote from Conquest’s friend Kingsley Amis: Further search led to this elaboration […]

Attorney General of the United States less racist than Nobel prize winning biologist

This sounds pretty bad: The FBI was better off when “you all only hired Irishmen,” [former Attorney General] Sessions said in one diatribe about the bureau’s workforce. “They were drunks but they could be trusted. . . .” But compare to this from Mister Helix: [The] historic curse of the Irish . . . is […]

“Study finds ‘Growth Mindset’ intervention taking less than an hour raises grades for ninth graders”

I received this press release in the mail: Study finds ‘Growth Mindset’ intervention taking less than an hour raises grades for ninth graders Intervention is first to show national applicability, breaks new methodological ground – Study finds low-cost, online growth mindset program taking less than an hour can improve ninth graders’ academic achievement – The […]

Are supercentenarians mostly superfrauds?

Ethan Steinberg points to a new article by Saul Justin Newman with the wonderfully descriptive title, “Supercentenarians and the oldest-old are concentrated into regions with no birth certificates and short lifespans,” which begins: The observation of individuals attaining remarkable ages, and their concentration into geographic sub-regions or ‘blue zones’, has generated considerable scientific interest. Proposed […]

“Developing Digital Privacy: Children’s Moral Judgments Concerning Mobile GPS Devices”

Recently in the sister blog: New technology poses new moral problems for children to consider. We examined whether children deem object tracking with a mobile GPS device to be a property right. In three experiments, 329 children (4-10 years) and adults were asked whether it is acceptable to track the location of either one’s own […]

Discussion with Nassim Taleb about sexism and racism in the Declaration of Independence

Nassim Taleb points to this post from congressmember Ayanna Pressley linking to an opinion piece by Matthew Rozsa. Rozsa’s article has the title, “Fourth of July’s ugly truth exposed: The Declaration of Independence is sexist, racist, prejudiced,” with subttile, “How we can embrace the underlying spirit of the Declaration of Independence — and also learn […]

Pre-results review: Some results

Aleks Bogdanoski writes: I’m writing from the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS) at UC Berkeley with news about pre-results review, a novel form of peer review where journals review (and accept) research papers based on their methods and theory — before any results are known. Pre-results review is motivated by growing […]

Update on keeping Mechanical Turk responses trustworthy

This topic has come up before . . . Now there’s a new paper by Douglas Ahler, Carolyn Roush, and Gaurav Sood, who write: Amazon’s Mechanical Turk has rejuvenated the social sciences, dramatically reducing the cost and inconvenience of collecting original data. Recently, however, researchers have raised concerns about the presence of “non-respondents” (bots) or […]

Endless citations to already-retracted articles

Ken Cor and Gaurav Sood write: Many claims in a scientific article rest on research done by others. But when the claims are based on flawed research, scientific articles potentially spread misinformation. To shed light on how often scientists base their claims on problematic research, we exploit data on cases where problems with research are […]

“Widely cited study of fake news retracted by researchers”

Chuck Jackson forwards this amusing story: Last year, a study was published in the Journal of Human Behavior, explaining why fake news goes viral on social media. The study itself went viral, being covered by dozens of news outlets. But now, it turns out there was an error in the researchers’ analysis that invalidates their […]

If you want a vision of the future, imagine a computer, calculating the number of angels who can dance on the head of a pin—forever.

Riffing on techno-hype news articles such as An AI physicist can derive the natural laws of imagined universes, Peter Woit writes: This is based on the misconception about string theory that the problem with it is that “the calculations are too hard”. The truth of the matter is that there is no actual theory, no […]