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Archive of posts filed under the Sociology category.

Flamebait: “Mathiness” in economics and political science

Political scientist Brian Silver points me to his post by economist Paul Romer, who writes: The style that I [Romer] am calling mathiness lets academic politics masquerade as science. Like mathematical theory, mathiness uses a mixture of words and symbols, but instead of making tight links, it leaves ample room for slippage between statements in […]

Low-power pose

“The samples were collected in privacy, using passive drool procedures, and frozen immediately.” Anna Dreber sends along a paper, “Assessing the Robustness of Power Posing: No Effect on Hormones and Risk Tolerance in a Large Sample of Men and Women,” which she published in Psychological Science with coauthors Eva Ranehill, Magnus Johannesson, Susanne Leiberg, Sunhae […]

The aching desire for regular scientific breakthroughs

This post didn’t come out the way I planned. Here’s what happened. I cruised over to the British Psychological Society Research Digest (formerly on our blogroll) and came across a press release entitled “Background positive music increases people’s willingness to do others harm.” Uh oh, I thought. This sounds like one of those flaky studies, […]

Why aren’t people sharing their data and code?

Joe Mienko writes: I made the following post on a couple of hours ago. It is still relatively uncommon for social scientists to share data or code as a part of the peer review process. I feel that this practice runs contrary to notions of replicability and reproducibility and have a desire to voice […]

Being polite vs. saying what we really think

We recently discussed an article by Isabel Scott and Nicholas Pound entitled, “Menstrual Cycle Phase Does Not Predict Political Conservatism,” in which Scott and Pound definitively shot down some research that was so ridiculous it never even deserved the dignity of being shot down. The trouble is, the original article, “The Fluctuating Female Vote: Politics, […]

A Psych Science reader-participation game: Name this blog post

In a discussion of yesterday’s post on studies that don’t replicate, Nick Brown did me the time-wasting disservice of pointing out a recent press release from Psychological Science which, as you might have heard, is “the highest ranked empirical journal in psychology.” The press release is called “Blue and Seeing Blue: Sadness May Impair Color […]

A political sociological course on statistics for high school students

Ben Frisch writes: I am designing a semester long non-AP Statistics course for high school juniors and seniors. I am wondering if you had some advice for the design of my class. My currentthinking for the design of the class includes: 0) Brief introduction to R/ R Studio and descriptive statistics and data sheet structure. […]

Rockin the tabloids

Rick Gerkin points me to this opinion piece from a couple years ago by biologist Randy Schekman, titled “How journals like Nature, Cell and Science are damaging science” and subtitled “The incentives offered by top journals distort science, just as big bonuses distort banking.” Here’s Schekman: The prevailing structures of personal reputation and career advancement […]

Hey—Don’t trust anything coming from the Tri-Valley Center for Human Potential!

Shravan sends along this article by Douglas Peters and Stephen Ceci, who report: We selected 12 already published research articles by investigators from prestigious and highly productive American psychology departments, one article from each of 12 highly regarded and widely read American psychology journals with high rejection rates (80%) and nonblind refereeing practices. With fictitious […]

It’s hard to replicate (that is, duplicate) analyses in sociology

Cristobal Young points us to this post on replication packages; he writes, “we found that only 28% of sociologists would/could provide a replication package.” I read the comments. The topic arouses a lot of passion. Some of the commenters are pretty rude! And, yes, I’m glad to see this post, given my own frustrating experience […]

Monte Carlo and the Holy Grail

On 31 Dec 2010, someone wrote in: A British Bayesian curiosity: Adrian Smith has just been knighted, and so becomes Sir Adrian. He can’t be the first Bayesian knight, as Harold Jeffreys was Sir Harold. I replied by pointing to this discussion from 2008, and adding: Perhaps Spiegelhalter can be knighted next. Or maybe Ripley! […]

“We can keep debating this after 11 years, but I’m sure we all have much more pressing things to do (grants? papers? family time? attacking 11-year-old papers by former classmates? guitar practice?)”

Someone pointed me to this discussion by Lior Pachter of a controversial claim in biology. The statistics The statistical content has to do with a biology paper by M. Kellis, B. W. Birren, and E.S. Lander from 2004 that contains the following passage: Strikingly, 95% of cases of accelerated evolution involve only one member of […]

“17 Baby Names You Didn’t Know Were Totally Made Up”

From Laura Wattenberg: Want to drive the baby-naming public up the wall? Tell them you’re naming your daughter Renesmee. Author Stephenie Meyer invented the name for the half-vampire child in her wildly popular Twilight series. In the story it’s simply an homage to the child’s two grandmothers, Renee and Esmé. To the traditional-minded, though, Renesmee […]

Survey weighting and regression modeling

Yphtach Lelkes points us to a recent article on survey weighting by three economists, Gary Solon, Steven Haider, and Jeffrey Wooldridge, who write: We start by distinguishing two purposes of estimation: to estimate population descriptive statistics and to estimate causal effects. In the former type of research, weighting is called for when it is needed […]

Inauthentic leadership? Development and validation of methods-based criticism

Thomas Basbøll writes: I need some help with a critique of a paper that is part of the apparently growing retraction scandal in leadership studies. Here’s Retraction Watch. The paper I want to look at is here: “Authentic Leadership: Development and Validation of a Theory-Based Measure” By F. O. Walumbwa, B. J. Avolio, W. L. […]

Hey, what’s up with that x-axis??

CDC should know better. P.S. In comments, Zachary David supplies this correctly-scaled version: It would be better to label the lines directly than to use a legend, and the y-axis is off by a factor of 100, but I can hardly complain given that he just whipped this graph up for us. The real point […]

Born-open data

Jeff Rouder writes: Although many researchers agree that scientific data should be open to scrutiny to ferret out poor analyses and outright fraud, most raw data sets are not available on demand. There are many reasons researchers do not open their data, and one is technical. It is often time consuming to prepare and archive […]

The language of insignificance

Jonathan Falk points me to an amusing post by Matthew Hankins giving synonyms for “not statistically significant.” Hankins writes: The following list is culled from peer-reviewed journal articles in which (a) the authors set themselves the threshold of 0.05 for significance, (b) failed to achieve that threshold value for p and (c) described it in […]

Of buggy whips and moral hazards; or, Sympathy for the Aapor

We’ve talked before about those dark-ages classical survey sampling types who say you can’t do poop with opt-in samples. The funny thing is, these people do all sorts of adjustment themselves, in the sampling or in post-data weighting or both, to deal with the inevitable fact that the people you can actually reach when you […]

“With that assurance, a scientist can report his or her work to the public, and the public can trust the work.”

Dan Wright writes: Given your healthy skepticism of findings/conclusions from post-peer-reviewed papers, I thought I would forward the following from Institute of Educational Sciences. Here is a sample quote: Simply put, peer review is a method by which scientists who are experts in a particular field examine another scientist’s work to verify that it makes […]