Posts Tagged ‘AMSR’

For Friday, 9/2 (SOC 303)

August 29, 2016

Hi Everybody! Below is an outline of our agenda for next class. We’ll take some time at the beginning of class for you all to get in your groups and talk about your (very brief, very casual) sample proposal presentations.

By the way, if you haven’t finished the lab, please do so in the next day or two.

 

Before

  • HW due: Zip Code Essay (register for a Google Docs account at http://docs.google.com and create a folder shared with my account—you took note of my email address, right?)

 

During 

  • Read and come prepared to do a very brief presentation on your assigned proposal from Patten
 (2014)
  • Schutt, Chapter 1 (‘Science, Society, and Social Research’); also pp. 495-505 (‘Content Analysis’) and 512-517 (‘Census and Federal Data’)
  • Patten (2014), Topic 1 (‘What Is Empirical Research?’)
  • LAB: Sample Proposal Presentations

 

After

  • Reverse Replication Outline (Content Analysis)
Advertisements

Request for Proposals (AMSR)

May 2, 2016

The 3-0-3 Foundation announces a call for research proposals on any subject of sociological importance. Applied as well as basic research proposals are welcome, but all proposals should make a contribution to sociological knowledge. Although a complete literature review is not required, all research questions and hypotheses should be grounded in relevant theoretical and empirical work.

 

Schedule for Proposal Preparation

  • General topic area (“theme”) must be declared by each applicant three weeks after release of this announcement (the first day of class).
  • A focused subject within that topic must be declared by 6 weeks after the release of this announcement.
  • A draft of the proposal (outline here) must be submitted by approximately 13 weeks after the release of this announcement.
  • The final proposal must be submitted approximately 15 weeks after the release of this announcement. This proposal must incorporate the feedback you have received on your draft proposal.

 

Exact dates will be announced by your program manager.

Except in the case of documented medical or similar issues, under no circumstances will late submissions be accepted and program managers reserve the exclusive right to determine if lateness will be allowed and what penalty will be given. Please note that technical problems (such as faulty computers or lost files) are not acceptable reasons for lateness. Applicants are solely responsible for insuring that they have adequate backup procedures and time for use of campus computers. All work must be the applicant’s own. Lehman College rules on intellectual honesty must be followed.

 

Standards for Evaluation

Proposals on all sociological subjects are welcome and any social science research method may be used. Some characteristics of past strong proposals have been:

  • a clearly defined and important sociological topic
  • hypotheses or research questions that are grounded in the scholarly literature
  • a clear explanation of the proposed research, including as much detail as possible (see the link to the proposal outline above)
  • strong justification of the choices made especially in terms of method, measurement, and sampling
  • a realistic research plan given time and budget constraints
  • a thorough discussion of ethical issues
  • good writing in terms of both mechanics and organization.

 

Technical Guidelines

  • Proposals should be no longer than 2500 words, not including title page, abstract, table of contents, references, and any appendices, and must be double-spaced, stapled, and written in 12-point font. Proposals that fail to meet these requirements will be returned without comment to the author.
  • References and citations must be presented using American Sociological Association style.
  • Relevant materials vis-à-vis research ethics and Institutional Review Board guidelines must be submitted as an appendix to the proposal. (For example, these would usually include a proposed informed consent form).
  • Other appendices may include, but are not limited to, surveys, interview schedules, background statistics, and letters of support from collaborators.
  • Submissions must be made using the Blackboard system. Detailed instructions for submission will be available within Blackboard.

 

Your program manager will inform you of any other details.

For Friday, 3/18 (Week 8)

March 11, 2016

Before

  • HW due: Administer and Analyse Your Survey
  • Schutt (2015), Ch. 13, pp. 474-95 (on comparative-historical research–note that this is a departure from the syllabus)
  • Patten (2014), Topics 12-18

During

  • Review of HW
  • BREAK
  • LAB: Sample Size

After

  • HW: TBA

For Tuesday, 2/9 (Week 3)

February 5, 2016

Before

 

During

  • Attendance
  • Patten (2014), Topics 1-3
  • Sample Proposal Presentation #8
  • BREAK
  • Lab: Manifest Content Analysis
  • Lab: Latent Content Analysis (Yelp! Reviews)

 

After

  • TBA

For the Final Exam (12/18/15)

December 13, 2015

Before

  1. The final draft of the proposal is due by the end of the exam period, and attendance is mandatory. A few of you have spoken to me about scheduling issues, and I’ll deal with those individually; but generally speaking, it should go without saying that it’s a bad idea to schedule something during an exam period.
  2. Prepare a presentation on your proposal (a satisfactory presentation will count for a score of 100% on one of your previous assignments — I’ll choose the assignment — so think of it as extra credit). As I mentioned in class, I’m not asking for ‘I Have a Dream’-level speechifying; this should be a 5-10 minute presentation, with or without slides/visuals/charts (although the superior presentation would be with), addressing the following questions:
    1. Who are you and what’s the title of your proposal?
    2. What’s it about?
    3. What’s your research question and/or research hypothesis?
    4. What’s your research design? (Brief Overview)
    5. Why should this be funded? (IOW, What’s the contribution your study would make to the relevant scholarly literature on your topic?

During

  • Presentations (here’s some how-to advice, if you haven’t already seen the post above this one)
  • TBA: we’ll probably devote a little time to some topics we haven’t had a chance to really delve into, but think of this as a time to put the finishing touches on your proposals and accompanying materials, or to get my help.

After

  • If you’ve followed instructions meticulously, relax: everything should be okay.
  • If not…

Replication, Replication, Replication

December 7, 2015

I couldn’t resist the allusion to my earlier, lame little joke about participation. Anyway, everybody’s been having so much trouble wrapping their heads around the replication homework assignments that I thought I’d try to provide a bit more background as to why replication is such a core part of doing science. If you’re at all familiar with Milgram’s obedience study (discussed in our textbook and every other textbook that ever talks about research methods, or research ethics, or, well, obedience), you’ll know that his findings were surprising, even to Milgram. When you get surprising results, the most sensible thing to do is to stage a replication — a ‘do-over’, as Janet Ruane (2005) dubs it — in order to establish that the results the first time weren’t just a fluke. If  you repeat your study and get much the same results, you’ve now got grounds for more confidence in the findings. If other people replicate your study and get much the same results (after all, what if you really, really wanted to be surprised? what if you therefore saw what you wanted to see, and not what was actually there?), then you’ve got even more confidence in the findings.

Even after you’ve established some confidence in the findings, you might wonder how much they can be generalised to other settings, populations, and circumstances. And so you might seek to replicate the study but add some twists, in order to test the scope of the study’s external validity. All of these options — repeating the study step-for-step, having other researchers try to replicate the findings, tweaking the study’s setup — are alluded to in the replication HW assignments. The point is to digest the methods and findings of a previous study, and then to ‘reverse-engineer’ it in order to come up with your own version, which can be more or less faithful to the original (you should always give reasons for the changes you make, of course).

Why would anyone want to do that? you ask. Well, whenever someone ends up with surprising or controversial findings, we have good reasons to seek to replicate them. But often the most surprising ones or the ones that are only marginally significant, statistically speaking, are the ones that can’t be replicated: ‘Suppose you have two well-designed, carefully run studies, A and B, that investigate the same phenomenon. They perform what appear to be identical experiments, and yet they reach opposite conclusions. Study A produces the predicted phenomenon, whereas Study B does not’ (Barrett 2015). What we have here is a failure to replicate — but it’s a telling failure.

And thus we eliminate tempting but misleading bits of falsehood from the fund of human knowledge. Science can get things wrong, but this doesn’t mean we can do without science; in such cases, as one researcher argues in a recent, highly informative interview, our best hope for a corrective is … more science.

Further Reading/Notes Toward a Personal Canon

Patten, Mildred L. 2014. Proposing Empirical Research: A Guide to the Fundamentals, 5th Ed. Pyrczak Publishing. For advice on how to ‘reverse-engineer’ when you think you’ve got reason to introduce some changes in the original design, see Patten (2014:19, Topic A) on modified replication.

 

REFERENCES

Barrett, Elizabeth Feldman. 2015. ‘Psychology is not in crisis’. New York Times, 1 September, p. A23.

Ruane, Janet. 2005. Essentials of Research Methods: A Guide to Social Science Research. Blackwell.

For Friday, 12/4

November 20, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving! (But don’t forget that the Up Movies lab is due by midnight tonight!)

Before

  • HW due: In honour of America’s Greatest Holiday, and in keeping with our recent examination of open-ended interviewing techniques,  we shall take part in The Great Thanksgiving Listen. Interview a parent or grandparent about their lives (or some other elder, if your parents/grandparents are unavailable). If your research topic lends itself to it, you can incorporate questions that you might ask a participant in the research you’re designing. If your parents were not born this country,  you might begin by asking them about their experiences as immigrants, as in this much talked-about episode of Aziz Ansari’s new show. You might not cry as much as Ansari’s friends reportedly do in watching the show, but you will want to have a box of tissues available, just in case. Write up your findings in the ‘Qualitative Interview’ lab.
  • Schutt, Chapter 12 (‘Evaluation and Policy Research’)

During

  • Choosing a Data Collection Method
  • BREAK
  • Causation

After

  • HW: TBA

For Friday, 11/20

November 13, 2015

Before

During

  • Lab: Up Movies (Fifty-Six Up). This is due by 11:59 on the 20th!

After

  • HW: TBA

For Friday, 11/13

November 6, 2015

Here’s a glossary that explains some of my most frequent grading comments. (I’ll mention it in class as well.) As always, Friday’s agenda is below.

Before

  • HW due: This was supposed to be the Qualitative Data Analysis, but the links to the data are broken and I’m having trouble repairing them. This is a golden opportunity for you to catch up on HW you haven’t turned in yet. You should also start drafting your final proposal if you haven’t started already, paying special attention to the literature review.
  • Schutt Chapter 7
 (‘Experiments’)

During

After

  • HW: TBA

For Friday, 11/6

October 30, 2015

Here’s a link to the mid-term feedback survey I mentioned in class. You should fill this out anonymously; just sign out of Google before you click on the link.

Here’s our upcoming agenda:

Before

  • HW due: We’ve repaired the outline doc associated with the Design Your Sampling Strategy. I won’t assign any new HW this week in order to give you a chance to catch up on your homework. If you didn’t turn the sampling HW in before class last Friday, however, I will still consider it late. If you are unsure about how to complete an assignment (in this case, because the guiding outline doc had been altered), you should contact me before it’s due.
  • Schutt (2015), Ch. 11 (‘Qualitative Data Analysis’)

During

  • Lab: Exploring Sampling, cont’d. Do not go beyond Question #5 before class this Friday. If you fail to follow instructions, I will clear your attempt.

After

  • HW: TBA