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Archive of posts filed under the Sociology category.

Some of the data from the NRA conventions and firearm injuries study

Dave Kane writes: You wrote about the NRA conventions and firearm injuries study here. The lead author, Anupam Jena, kindly provided some of the underlying data and a snippet of the code they used to me. You can see it all here. The data are here. I [Kane] wrote up a brief analysis, R Markdown […]

“It’s not just that the emperor has no clothes, it’s more like the emperor has been standing in the public square for fifteen years screaming, I’m naked! I’m naked! Look at me! And the scientific establishment is like, Wow, what a beautiful outfit.”

Somebody pointed Nick Brown to another paper by notorious eating behavior researcher Brian Wansink. Here’s Brown: I have that one in my collection of PDFs. I see I downloaded it on January 7, 2017, which was 3 days before our preprint went live. Probably I skimmed it and didn’t pay much further attention. I don’t […]

Statistical controversy over “trophy wives”

Aaron Gullickson writes: I thought you might be interested in this comment (of which I am the author) and response (by Elizabeth McClintock) that just came out in ASR. The subject is about whether beauty and status (e.g. education, income) are exchanged on the marriage market. The reason I thought you might be interested is […]

What is not but could be if

And if I can remain there I will say – Baby Dee Obviously this is a blog that love the tabloids. But as we all know, the best stories are the ones that confirm your own prior beliefs (because those must be true).  So I’m focussing on  this article in Science that talks about how STEM […]

A more formal take on the multiverse

You’ve heard of multiverse analysis, which is an attempt to map out the garden of forking paths. Others are interested in this topic too. Carol Nickerson pointed me to this paper by Jan Wacker with a more formal version of the multiverse idea.

Murray Davis on learning from stories

Jay Livingston writes: Your recent post and the linked article on storytelling reminded me of Murray Davis’s article on theory, which has some of the same themes. I haven’t reread it in a long time, so my memory of the details is hazy. Here are the first two paragraphs, which might give you an idea […]

“and, indeed, that my study is consistent with X having a negative effect on Y.”

David Allison shares this article: Pediatrics: letter to the editor – Metformin for Obesity in Prepubertal and Pubertal Children A Randomized Controlled Trial and the authors’ reply: RE: Clarification of statistical interpretation in metformin trial paper The authors of the original paper were polite in their response, but they didn’t seem to get the point […]

“Like a harbor clotted with sunken vessels”

After writing this post on an error in one of my published papers, I got to thinking about the general problem of mistakes in the scientific literature. Retraction is not a serious solution to the problem. And there are lots of people out there who simply refuse to admit, let alone correct, their published errors: […]

“If I wanted to graduate in three years, I’d just get a sociology degree.”

From an interview with a UCLA QB who’s majoring in economics: Look, football and school don’t go together. They just don’t. Trying to do both is like trying to do two full-time jobs. . . . No one in their right mind should have a football player’s schedule, and go to school. It’s not that […]

The graphs tell the story. Now I want to fit this story into a bigger framework so it all makes sense again.

Paul Alper points us to these graphs: Pretty stunning. I mean, really stunning. Why are we just hearing about this now, given that the pattern is a decade old? And what’s this: “Data for the U.S. ends in 2007”? Huh? Also, it’s surprising how high the rates were for Japan, Italy, and Germany in the […]

“No System is Perfect: Understanding How Registration-Based Editorial Processes Affect Reproducibility and Investment in Research Quality”

Robert Bloomfield, Kristina Rennekamp, Blake Steenhoven sent along this paper that compares “a registration-based Editorial Process (REP). Authors submitted proposals to gather and analyze data; successful proposals were guaranteed publication as long as the authors lived up to their commitments, regardless of whether results supported their predictions” to “the Traditional Editorial Process (TEP).” Here’s what […]

The Paper of My Enemy Has Been Retracted

The paper of my enemy has been retracted And I am pleased. From every media outlet it has been retracted Like a van-load of p-values that has been seized And sits in star-laden tables in a replication archive, My enemy’s much-prized effort sits in tables In the kind of journal where retraction occurs. Great, square […]

When the appeal of an exaggerated claim is greater than a prestige journal

Adam Clarke writes: Are you aiming to write a blog post soon on the recent PNAS article of ‘When the appeal of a dominant leader is greater than a prestige leader’? The connection it points out between economic uncertainty and preference for dominant leaders seems intuitive – perhaps a bit too intuitive. The “Edited by […]

NSF Cultivating Cultures for Ethical STEM

The National Science Foundation is funding this program: NSF Cultivating Cultures for Ethical STEM (CCE STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics]) Funding: The maximum amount for 5-year awards is $600,000 (including indirect costs) and the maximum amount for 3-year awards is $400,000 (including indirect costs). The average award is $275,000. Deadline: Internal Notice of Intent […]

To better enable others to avoid being misled when trying to learn from observations, I promise not be transparent, open, sincere nor honest?

I recently read a paper by Stephen John with the title “Epistemic trust and the ethics of science communication: against transparency, openness, sincerity and honesty”. On a superficial level, John’s paper can be re-stated as honesty  (transparency, openness and sincerity) is not always the best policy. For instance, “publicising the inner workings of sausage factories does […]

The Trumpets of Lilliput

Gur Huberman pointed me to this paper by George Akerlof and Pascal Michaillat that gives an institutional model for the persistence of false belief. The article begins: This paper develops a theory of promotion based on evaluations by the already promoted. The already promoted show some favoritism toward candidates for promotion with similar beliefs, just […]

A lesson from the Charles Armstrong plagiarism scandal: Separation of the judicial and the executive functions

[updated link] Charles Armstrong is a history professor at Columbia University who, so I’ve heard, has plagiarized and faked references for an award-winning book about Korean history. The violations of the rules of scholarship were so bad that the American Historical Association “reviewed the citation issue after being notified by a member of the concerns […]

Hey, here’s a new reason for a journal to reject a paper: it’s “annoying” that it’s already on a preprint server

Alex Gamma writes: I’m interested in publishing in journal X. So I inquire about X’s preprint policy. X’s editor informs me that [Journal X] does not prohibit placing submitted manuscripts on preprint servers. Some reviewers may notice the server version of the article, however, and they may find the lack of anonymity so annoying that […]

The puzzle: Why do scientists typically respond to legitimate scientific criticism in an angry, defensive, closed, non-scientific way? The answer: We’re trained to do this during the process of responding to peer review.

[image of Cantor’s corner] Here’s the “puzzle,” as we say in social science. Scientific research is all about discovery of the unexpected: to do research, you need to be open to new possibilities, to design experiments to force anomalies, and to learn from them. The sweet spot for any researcher is at Cantor’s corner. (See […]

Why are these explanations so popular?

David Weakliem writes: According to exit polls, Donald Trump got 67% of the vote among whites without a college degree in 2016, which may be the best-ever performance by a Republican (Reagan got 66% of that group in 1984). Weakliem first rejects one possibility that’s been going around: One popular idea is that he cared […]