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Archive of posts filed under the Sociology category.

Sailing between the Scylla of hyping of sexy research and the Charybdis of reflexive skepticism

Recently I had a disagreement with Larry Bartels which I think is worth sharing with you. Larry and I took opposite positions on the hot topic of science criticism. To put things in a positive way, Larry was writing about some interesting recent research which I then constructively criticized. To be more negative, Larry was […]

Science tells us that fast food lovers are more likely to marry other fast food lovers

Emma Pierson writes: I’m a statistician working at the genetics company 23andMe before pursuing a master’s in statistics at Oxford on a Rhodes scholarship. I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog, and we’ve been doing some social science research at 23andMe which I thought might be of interest. We have about half a million customers answering […]

When am I a conservative and when am I a liberal (when it comes to statistics, that is)?

Here I am one day: Let me conclude with a statistical point. Sometimes researchers want to play it safe by using traditional methods — most notoriously, in that recent note by Michael Link, president of the American Association of Public Opinion Research, arguing against non-probability sampling on the (unsupported) grounds that such methods have “little […]

“Science does not advance by guessing”

I agree with Deborah Mayo who agrees with Carlo Rovelli that “Science does not advance by guessing. It advances by new data or by a deep investigation of the content and the apparent contradictions of previous empirically successful theories.” And, speaking as a statistician and statistical educator, I think there’s a big problem with the […]

“Regular Customer: It was so much easier when I was a bum. I didn’t have to wake up at 4am to go to work, didn’t have all these bills and girlfriends.”

Love the Liberry is still going strong.

65% of principals say that at least 30% of students . . . wha??

Alan Sloane writes: The OECD put out a report drawing on their PISA and TALIS data: I notice that it’s already attracted a NY Times op-ed by David Leonhart: There are a number of things I find strange in its analysis and interpretation but, for starters, there’s the horizontal axis in the chart […]

International Journal of Epidemiology versus Hivemind and the Datagoround

The Hivemind wins (see the comment thread here, which is full of detective work from various commenters). As I wrote as a postscript to that earlier post, maybe we should call this the “stone soup” or “Bem” phenomenon, when a highly flawed work stimulates interesting, thoughtful discussion.

Can anyone guess what went wrong here?

OK, here’s a puzzle for all of you. I received the following email: Dear Professor Gelman: The editor of ** asked me to write to see if you would be willing to review MS ** entitled ** We are hoping for a review within the next 2-3 weeks if possible. I would appreciate if you […]

Are Ivy League schools overrated?

I won’t actually answer the above question, as I am offering neither a rating of these schools nor a measure of how others rate them (which would be necessary to calibrate the “overrated” claim). What I am doing is responding to an email from Mark Palko, who wrote: I [Palko] am in broad agreement with […]

Six quotes from Kaiser Fung

You may think you have all of the data. You don’t. One of the biggest myth of Big Data is that data alone produce complete answers. Their “data” have done no arguing; it is the humans who are making this claim. Before getting into the methodological issues, one needs to ask the most basic question. […]