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Notes on Social Measurement

Historical and Critical

"A richly erudite history of measurement and an account of its current state in the social sciences—fascinating, informative, provocative." —James S. Coleman, Unversity of Chicago

 

"Wise and powerful." — American Journal of Sociology

 

"Personal and provocative—an excellent set of historical and critical ruminations from one of social measurement's greatest contributors." —Choice

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Objectifying Measures

In the past twenty years, the number of educational tests with high-stakes consequences—such as promotion to the next grade level or graduating from high school—has increased. At the same time, the difficulty of the tests has also increased. In Texas, a Latina state legislator introduced and lobbied for a bill that would take such factors as teacher recommendations, portfolios of student work, and grades into account for the students—usually students of color—who failed such tests. The bill was defeated.

Using several types of ethnographic study (personal interviews, observations of the Legislature in action, news broadcasts, public documents from the Legislature and Texas Education Agency), Amanda Walker Johnson observed the struggle for the bill’s passage. Through recounting this experience, Objectifying Measures explores the relationship between the cultural production of scientific knowledge (of statistics in particular) and the often intuitive resistance to objectification of those adversely affected by the power of policies underwritten as "scientific."

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Oral History Review

Vol. 35 (2008) through current issue

The Oral History Review, the official publication of the Oral History Association since 1973, explores the recording, transcribing, and preserving of conversations with people who have participated in important political, cultural, and economic social developments in modern times. Articles, book and film reviews, and bibliographies deal with the authentication of human experience and research findings in oral history. This journal considers a broad spectrum of different social groups, cultures, and countries through the use of interviews, songs, photos, diagrams, and storytelling.

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The Origins of Capitalism and the "Rise of the West"

In this study, Eric Mielants provides a novel interdisciplinary interpretation of the origins of modernity and capitalism in particular. He argues that contrary to popular thinking, the Rise of the West should not be analyzed in terms of the Industrial Revolution or the colonization of the New World, but viewed from long-term developments that occurred in the Middle Ages. A fascinating overview of different civilizations in East Asia, South Asia, and Northwestern Africa is provided and systematically compared and contrasted with Western Europe. This book addresses some of the major debates that have recently unfolded in world history, comparative sociology, political economy, sociological theory and historical sociology.  Mielants indicates how many existing theories (such as Marxism, World-Systems Theory and Smithian Modernization Theory) have suffered from either Eurocentric or limited temporal and spatial analyses, which prevents them from a complete understanding of why the origins of capitalism and citizenship emerged in Western Europe.

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Playing on the Edge

Sadomasochism, Risk, and Intimacy

Staci Newmahr

Representations of consensual sadomasochism range from the dark, seedy undergrounds of crime thrillers to the fetishized pornographic images of sitcoms and erotica. In this pathbreaking book, ethnographer Staci Newmahr delves into the social space of a public, pansexual SM community to understand sadomasochism from the inside out. Based on four years of in-depth and immersive participant observation, she juxtaposes her experiences in the field with the life stories of community members, providing a richly detailed portrait of SM as a social space in which experiences of "violence" intersect with experiences of the erotic. She shows that SM is a recreational and deeply gendered risk-taking endeavor, through which participants negotiate boundaries between chaos and order. Playing on the Edge challenges our assumptions about sadomasochism, sexuality, eroticism, and emotional experience, exploring what we mean by intimacy, and how, exactly, we achieve it.

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Population-Based Survey Experiments

Diana C. Mutz

Population-based survey experiments have become an invaluable tool for social scientists struggling to generalize laboratory-based results, and for survey researchers besieged by uncertainties about causality. Thanks to technological advances in recent years, experiments can now be administered to random samples of the population to which a theory applies. Yet until now, there was no self-contained resource for social scientists seeking a concise and accessible overview of this methodology, its strengths and weaknesses, and the unique challenges it poses for implementation and analysis.

Drawing on examples from across the social sciences, this book covers everything you need to know to plan, implement, and analyze the results of population-based survey experiments. But it is more than just a "how to" manual. This lively book challenges conventional wisdom about internal and external validity, showing why strong causal claims need not come at the expense of external validity, and how it is now possible to execute experiments remotely using large-scale population samples.

Designed for social scientists across the disciplines, Population-Based Survey Experiments provides the first complete introduction to this methodology.

  • Offers the most comprehensive treatment of the subject
  • Features a wealth of examples and practical advice
  • Reexamines issues of internal and external validity
  • Can be used in conjunction with downloadable data from ExperimentCentral.org for design and analysis exercises in the classroom

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Process-Tracing Methods

Foundations and Guidelines

Derek Beach and Rasmus Brun Pedersen

Process-tracing in social science is a method for studying causal mechanisms linking causes with outcomes. This enables the researcher to make strong inferences about how a cause (or set of causes) contributes to producing an outcome. Derek Beach an

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Publier dans une revue savante

Les 10 règles du chercheur convaincant

Comment publier dans une revue dite scientifique ou savante ? Pour y arriver, l'auteur propose 10 règles qui s'appuient sur de nombreux et récents articles, sur l'opinion de plusieurs rédacteurs en chef de revues prestigieuses ainsi que sur son expérience personnelle de chercheur et d'évaluateur.

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Questions About Questions

Inquiries into the Cognitive Bases of Surveys

The social survey has become an essential tool in modern society, providing crucial measurements of social change, describing social life, and guiding government policy. But the validity of surveys is fragile and depends ultimately upon the accuracy of answers to survey questions. Recently featured in The New York Times, Questions About Questions brings together experts in cognitive psychology, linguistics, and survey research to probe the relationship between the presentation and interpretation of questions and the accuracy of survey responses.   "these chapters provide a good sense of the range of survey problems investigated by the cognitive movement, the methods and ideas it draws upon, and the results it has yielded." —American Journal of Sociology  

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Réaliser son mémoire ou sa thèse

Côté jeans et côté tenue de soirée

Un ouvrage centré sur le processus de réalisation d'un mémoire ou d'une thèse. Qui indique quoi, comment et quand faire les choses. Que la démarche suivie soit qualitative ou quantitative, il aide à cerner sa problématique, à établir son cadre théorique, à analyser, présenter et interpréter ses résultats.

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