American Sociological Association

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  1. Prepare for a Vote: Understanding the Proposed Revision to the ASA Code of Ethics

    At the 2014 Annual Meeting in San Francisco, Executive Officer Sally Hillsman, met with the Committee on Professional Ethics (COPE) and suggested that it was time to revise the Code of Ethics. Revisions were last made to the Code 20 years ago, and a great deal of change had taken place. Regulatory and technological advances have had striking impacts on the field. At the time, the Department of Health and Human Services was about to announce changes to The Common Rule, which governs the vast majority of human subjects research efforts.

  2. ASA Signs on to Letter Supporting Federal Data Sources

    The ASA signed on to a letter expressing our strong support for the critical Federal data sources that inform and strengthen our nation’s world-leading economic, educational, democratic and civic institutions and successes. Our Federal statistical and data systems provide information that is uniquely accurate, objective, relevant, timely, and accessible. 

  3. What’s the Harm? The Coverage of Ethics and Harm Avoidance in Research Methods Textbooks

    Methods textbooks play a role in socializing a new generation of researchers about ethical research. How do undergraduate social research methods textbooks portray harm, its prevalence, and ways to mitigate harm to participants? We conducted a content analysis of ethics chapters in the 18 highest-selling undergraduate textbooks used in sociology research methods courses in the United States and Canada in 2013. We found that experiments are portrayed as the research design most likely to harm participants.
  4. What is Critical Realism? And Why Should You Care?

    Critical realism (CR) is a philosophical system developed by the Indo-British philosopher, Roy Bhaskar, in collaboration with a number of British social theorists, including Margaret Archer, Mervyn Hartwig, Tony Lawson, Alan Norrie, and Andrew Sayer. It has a journal, a book series, an association, an annual meeting and, in short, all the usual trappings of an intellectual movement. The movement is centered in the UK but has followers throughout Europe, Asia, the Americas, and the Antipodes.

  5. Why Liberals and Atheists Are More Intelligent

    The origin of values and preferences is an unresolved theoretical question in behavioral and social sciences.

  6. Nonlinear Autoregressive Latent Trajectory Models

    Autoregressive latent trajectory (ALT) models combine features of latent growth curve models and autoregressive models into a single modeling framework. The development of ALT models has focused primarily on models with linear growth components, but some social processes follow nonlinear trajectories. Although it is straightforward to extend ALT models to allow for some forms of nonlinear trajectories, the identification status of such models, approaches to comparing them with alternative models, and the interpretation of parameters have not been systematically assessed.
  7. Comment: Bayes, Model Uncertainty, and Learning from Data

    The problem of model uncertainty is a fundamental applied challenge in quantitative sociology. The authors’ language of false positives is reminiscent of Bonferroni adjustments and the frequentist analysis of multiple independent comparisons, but the distinct problem of model uncertainty has been fully formalized from a Bayesian perspective.
  8. We Ran 9 Billion Regressions: Eliminating False Positives through Computational Model Robustness

    False positive findings are a growing problem in many research literatures. We argue that excessive false positives often stem from model uncertainty. There are many plausible ways of specifying a regression model, but researchers typically report only a few preferred estimates. This raises the concern that such research reveals only a small fraction of the possible results and may easily lead to nonrobust, false positive conclusions. It is often unclear how much the results are driven by model specification and how much the results would change if a different plausible model were used.
  9. Comparing Regression Coefficients Between Same-sample Nested Models Using Logit and Probit: A New Method

    Logit and probit models are widely used in empirical sociological research. However, the common practice of comparing the coefficients of a given variable across differently specified models fitted to the same sample does not warrant the same interpretation in logits and probits as in linear regression. Unlike linear models, the change in the coefficient of the variable of interest cannot be straightforwardly attributed to the inclusion of confounding variables. The reason for this is that the variance of the underlying latent variable is not identified and will differ between models.

  10. Text Analysis with JSTOR Archives

    I provide a visual representation of keyword trends and authorship for two flagship sociology journals using data from JSTOR’s Data for Research repository. While text data have accompanied the digital spread of information, it remains inaccessible to researchers unfamiliar with the required preprocessing. The visualization and accompanying code encourage widespread use of this source of data in the social sciences.