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Archive of posts filed under the Sociology category.

Your closest collaborator . . . and why you can’t talk with her

We get a lot of good comments on this blog but this one’s especially memorable. From Erin Jonaitis: Your closest collaborator is you six months ago but you don’t reply to email.

Statistical methods as pocket tools

I was inspired by this post by John Cook, “People want Swiss Army Knives,” to think more generally about the idea of statistical methods as pocket tools. Cook argues that the Swiss Army Knife is a more useful tool than a scalpel because it can do so many more things, even if it does none […]

Trajectories of Achievement Within Race/Ethnicity: “Catching Up” in Achievement Across Time

Just in time for Christmas, here’s some good news for kids, from Pamela Davis-Kean and Justin Jager: The achievement gap has long been the focus of educational research, policy, and intervention. The authors took a new approach to examining the achievement gap by examining achievement trajectories within each racial group. To identify these trajectories they […]

Research benefits of feminism

Unlike that famous bank teller, I’m not “active in the feminist movement,” but I’ve always considered myself a feminist, ever since I heard the term (I don’t know when that was, maybe when I was 10 or so?). It’s no big deal, it probably just comes from having 2 big sisters and growing up during […]

It’s Too Hard to Publish Criticisms and Obtain Data for Replication

Peter Swan writes: The problem you allude to in the above reference and in your other papers on ethics is a broad and serious one. I and my students have attempted to replicate a number of top articles in the major finance journals. Either they cannot be replicated due to missing data or what might […]

Sokal: “science is not merely a bag of clever tricks . . . Rather, the natural sciences are nothing more or less than one particular application — albeit an unusually successful one — of a more general rationalist worldview”

Alan Sokal writes: We know perfectly well that our politicians (or at least some of them) lie to us; we take it for granted; we are inured to it. And that may be precisely the problem. Perhaps we have become so inured to political lies — so hard-headedly cynical — that we have lost our […]

Defense by escalation

Basbøll has another post regarding some copying-without-attribution by the somewhat-famous academic entertainer Slavoj Zizek. In his post, Basbøll links to theologian and professor Adam Kotsko (cool: who knew there were still theologians out and about in academia?) who defends Zizek, in part on the grounds that Zizek’s critics were being too harsh. Kotsko writes of […]

Steven Pinker on writing: Where I agree and where I disagree

Linguist and public intellectual Steven Pinker recently published an article, “Why Academics Stink at Writing.” That’s a topic that interests me! Like Pinker, I’ve done a lot of writing, both for technical and general audiences. Unlike Pinker, I have not done research on linguistics, but I’ll do my best to comment based on my own […]

Unstrooping names

Baptiste Coulmont writes: Following your recent blog post on stroopy names, I do not resist the temptation to send you a recent article on first name changes in France. The point of the article is simple: people who change their first names often explicitly speak about national identity changes in their request for a new […]

Leif and Uri need to hang out with a better class of statisticians

Noted psychology researchers and methods skeptics Leif Nelson and Uri Simonsohn write: A recent Psych Science (.pdf) paper found that sports teams can perform worse when they have too much talent. For example, in Study 3 they found that NBA teams with a higher percentage of talented players win more games, but that teams with […]