Archive for January, 2015

For Friday, 2/6 (AMSR)

January 30, 2015
  1. Chambliss and Schutt, Chapter 1; pp. 85-88
  2. Patten, Proposing Empirical Research, Topic 1
  3. HW: Don’t forget to register for a Google Docs account, and to create and share a course folder with me!
  4. HW: Study Your Own Zip Code
    1. Learn the boundaries of your own zip code. You can do this by entering your street address (don’t forget the zip!) in the Address Search page of the census data website run by the federal government, American FactFinder. Click on the ‘Map’ tab and check the box labeled ‘2014 5-Digit ZIP Code Tabulation Area’ in the ‘Boundaries and Features’ option. It should look a bit like this:
    2. 11206 Map
    3. What is your zip code area like? You probably can answer this question without having done any research, given the ordinary observation you have already done while living there. For this assignment, however, you want to observe your zip code through conscious sociological observation, rather than through ordinary human observation. That is, try to avoid selective observation, over-generalization and the other errors of ordinary human inquiry. Spend at least one hour walking around your zip code.  (If your zip code is really spread out you may drive or take mass transit for part of this, but you must also walk around.) Make sure that you visit several places along the boundary, including those that are farthest apart. You will want to bring a notebook with you, and you may want to bring a camera. Take careful notes, as you’ll be writing up your observations later on (remember, this is a writing-intensive course!).
  5. Now we come to the in-class part of the assignment:
    1. Take some time to reflect on what you observed during your explorations.
      1. As far as you know, what is the name (or are the names) of the neighborhood(s) in this zip code? Is a zip code the same thing as a neighborhood?
      2. Based on the “ordinary human observation” you have done as a resident, how would you describe the kinds of people who live in your zip code?
    2. Now we’ll get some objective data from American FactFinder about your zip code, namely
      1. percent male and female
      2. age distribution
      3. racial make-up
      4. percent Latino
    3. Overall, how would you summarize the demographic make-up of your zip code? Were you surprised by any of the results? This should be a whole paragraph. Don’t include every statistic, but give enough information from the data to support your description.
  6. Next, we’ll get some commercial segmentation data on your zip code from Claritas:
    1. Summarize what you learned about the people in your zip code from the PRIZM NE and any other segmentation data you looked at. Make sure you give the reader adequate information about the characteristics of each cluster to understand what the names mean. (This should be in paragraph form.)
    2. How accurate do you feel the segment data were at describing you and/or the other people who live near you. Do you fit into one of the groups? Do members of your family? Do the people who live near you? Do they reflect what you know about your zip code area?
    3. How do you think that the cluster data compares to the census data? Which did you find more interesting? Which did you think was more useful? What purposes would each type of data be used for?
  7. Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion to this assignment…

For Tuesday (DEV)

January 30, 2015
  1. Patricia Erdmans, ‘How to Read Sociological Texts’
  2. Booth et al. (2008), ‘From Questions to a Problem’ (Ch. 4)

For Monday (METH)

January 30, 2015
  1. Mary Patrice Erdmans, ‘How to Read Sociological Texts’*
  2. Booth et al., ‘From Topics to Questions’ (Ch. 3; skim)

For Tomorrow, 1/30 (AMSR)

January 30, 2015
  1. Ground Rules
  2. Introductions
  3. Syllabus: Brief Overview

For Today, 1/29/15 (DEV)

January 29, 2015
  1. Introductions
  2. Brief Overview of the Syllabus

For Tomorrow (METH)

January 28, 2015
  1. Don’t take this class if you can’t live without your phone or computer for 75 minutes.
  2. Review for Final Exam (please try to read Kieran Healy’s ‘How to Think About Your Research Paper’ before class)
  3. Introductions
  4. Review Syllabus