Archive for February, 2015

For Friday, 3/6 (AMSR)

February 27, 2015
  1. Video: Using Available Data
  2. Chambliss and Schutt, Chapter 7
  3. Patten, Questionnaire Research, Topics 4-7

For Monday, 3/2 (METH)

February 26, 2015
  1. Here’s a research statement that was emailed to me earlier; why don’t we start off by workshopping it?
    • I am studying the reduction of gun ownership, because I want to find out if reducing gun ownership decreases the crime rate, in order to help readers understand whether they are less likely to be a victim of a violent crime in a state with fewer guns.
    • (By the way, here’s an interesting piece on gun ownership, crime, and faulty statistics. Additionally, part of the problem with the numbers have to do with some serious measurement validity issues…)
  2. Ruane, ‘An Informative Few: Sampling’ (Ch. 8)
  3. Ruane, ‘External Validity’ (pp. 41-4 of Ch. 3; skim)

Wednesday, in using Rich’s research question (Are combat veterans more prone to commit violent crimes?) as an example, I said that it would be impossible to do a fixed-panel longitudinal study for such a question. I was wrong to say that. Recall that fixed-panel design involves collecting data from the exact same sample at different times. Now, obviously, if our research population is simply ‘combat veterans’, and we were attempting to compare the effects of combat in different wars, it would be well-nigh impossible to get a sample of veterans who’d seen combat in, say, the Vietnam War (first data collection point), and then the Persian Gulf War (second data collection point), and then the invasion of Afghanistan (third data collection point), and then the invasion of Iraq (fourth data collection point). But we could still look at that same question (Are combat veterans more prone to commit violent crimes?) over time by changing the research population. We could simply define the research population as, say, combat vets of the Afghanistan war, and then collect data from the same sample in, e.g., 2005, 2010, 2015, and so on. A lot hangs on how we define the research population, as we’ll see in chapter 8 of our textbook (assigned above).

For Friday, 2/27 (AMSR)

February 25, 2015
  1. Using Available Data: Elementary Statistical Analysis and the GSS (video by Elin Waring; 4:49)
  2. Units of Analysis: A Quick Review
    1. The Ecological Fallacy
    2. The Reductionist Fallacy
  3. Chambliss and Schutt, Chapter 4: Conceptualization and Measurement
    1. Measurement Validity: Have we measured what we aimed to measure? (8:58)
  4. Your Research Proposal: Essential Questions
  5. Patten, PER, Topics 19-21

For Wednesday, 2/25 (METH)

February 25, 2015
  1. Ruane, ‘Designing Ideas: Research Strategies’ (Ch. 7)
  2. Revise Research Statements
  3. The annotated bibliography listed on the syllabus will be due next Wednesday (4 March) instead of today. Your bibliography can include different kinds of sources, but it must include at least ten peer-reviewed articles from scholarly journals. Citations should use ASA style, and be accompanied by a few lines (or paragraphs, more likely) that summarize, assess, and reflect on each entry.

For Thursday, 2/26 (DEV)

February 24, 2015
  1. Travis Hirschi, ‘Control Theory’
  2. Revise Research Statements

For Tuesday, 2/24 (DEV)

February 23, 2015
  1. Review Scoring Guide for Midterm
  2. Theories of Deviance: A Brief Overview
  3. Edwin H. Sutherland and Donald R. Cressey, ‘Differential Association’
  4. Travis Hirschi, ‘Control Theory’
  5. Revise Research Statements

For Monday, 2/23 (METH)

February 23, 2015
  1. Review for Midterm
  2. Booth et al., ‘From Problems to Sources’ (Ch. 5)
  3. Booth et al., ‘Engaging Sources’ (Ch. 6)

For Thursday, 2/19 (DEV)

February 18, 2015
  1. Emile Durkheim, ‘Functionalism: The Normal and the Pathological’
  2. Robert Merton, ‘Social Structure and Anomie’

For Friday, 2/20 (AMSR)

February 15, 2015

I apologize for the confusion at the start of class last Friday morning–apparently Mrs. Medina called from the sociology main office around 9:30 with the news that I was delayed, but by then, some of you had (understandably) decided to leave. As I mentioned, the L trains were stalled for a while (big un-thank you to whoever pulled the emergency brake at Montrose Ave.), but I should have gone aboveground at Union Square in order to send you all an email update earlier. This Friday, I’ll look to leave an hour earlier in order to avoid further MTA embarrassment.

  1. Chambliss and Schutt, Chapter 8; Appendix A
  2. Patten topics 8-10
  3. HW: Okay, this is something we started in class; those of you who missed out entirely should start with the first step; those of you who were there should start at the third step.
    1. Write down five questions, observations, or ideas you have related to your topic.  It will probably be easy to come up with two or three, but push yourself to get five.
    2. Look at your items (first see if any of them are basically the same or very similar); put a star next to the one that you think is most interesting. Identify the unit of analysis and variables involved in the item. Come up with 5 key words describing your interesting item.
    3. Review Appendix A (‘Finding Information’) and then search the literature and the Internet on the research question you’ve identified. Copy down at least five citations for articles (with abstracts from CSA Sociological Abstracts) and two websites reporting research that seems highly relevant to your research question and one of the websites. Inspect the article bibliographies and the links at the website and idenitfy at least one more relevant article and website from each source. Write a brief description of each article (don’t just read the abstract, pally!) and website you consulted and evaluate its relevance to your research question. What additions to your thoughts about the research question do the sources suggest? Please upload this to your shared Google folder.

For Wednesday, 2/18 (METH)

February 13, 2015

Our discussion of basic research goals went a bit longer than I anticipated, so we’re currently a day behind. Thus:

  1. (Arrange desks in a chevron formation [tip of the ‘V’ should point to the back of the room]).
  2. Ruane, ‘Measure by Measure: Making the Abstract Concrete’ (Ch. 4)
    1. Example: The Postwar Conservative Movement in America
  3. Booth et al., ‘From Questions to a Problem’ (Ch. 4; skim)
  4. In-Class Exercise: What’s the primary goal of the research you’re proposing?