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  1. Is Daily Parental Help with Homework Helpful? Reanalyzing National Data Using a Propensity Score–Based Approach

    Previous analyses of large national datasets have tended to report a negative relationship between parental homework help and student achievement. Yet these studies have not examined heterogeneity in this relationship based on the propensity for a parent to provide homework help. By using a propensity score–based approach, this study investigates the relationship between daily parental homework help in first grade and student achievement in third grade with nationally representative data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study–Kindergarten Class.
  2. Smoking Diffusion through Networks of Diverse, Urban American Adolescents over the High School Period

    This study uses recent data to investigate if smoking initiation diffuses through friendship networks over the high school period and explores if diffusion processes differ across schools. One thousand four hundred and twenty-five racially and ethnically diverse youth from four high schools in Los Angeles were surveyed four times over the high school period from 2010 to 2013. Probit regression models and stochastic actor-based models for network dynamics tested for peer effects on smoking initiation.
  3. Challenging Evolution in Public Schools: Race, Religion, and Attitudes toward Teaching Creationism

    Researchers argue that white evangelical Christians are likely to support teaching creationism in public schools. Yet, less is known about the role religion may play in shaping attitudes toward evolution and teaching creationism among blacks and Latinos, who are overrepresented in U.S. conservative Protestant traditions. This study fills a gap in the literature by examining whether religious factors (e.g., religious affiliation and Biblical literalism) relate to differences in support for teaching creationism between blacks and Latinos compared to whites and other racial groups.
  4. Residuality and Inconsistency in the Interpretation of Socio-Theoretical Systems

    This article addresses the interpretation and criticism of theoretical systems. Its particular focus is on how to assess the success of theories in dealing with some specific phenomenon. We are interested in how to differentiate between cases where a theory offers an unsatisfactory acknowledgment of a specified phenomenon and those where a theory offers a deeper, more systematic understanding.
  5. What’s Alter Got to Do with It? A Consideration of Network Content and the Social Ties That Provide It

    The strength of weak ties is among the most important theories in the social sciences. One paradoxical element of the theory has been widely understood and valued—that weak ties connect disparate regions of social structure. Less appreciated, however, is the arguably more paradoxical implication that someone only weakly connected to another would provide value beyond that which is provided by the recipient’s (ego’s) strong ties. Once this paradoxical feature of the theory and associated empirical literatures is acknowledged, the interests of the resource provider (alter) demand consideration.
  6. Meaning and Modularity: The Multivalence of “Mechanism” in Sociological Explanation

    Mechanisms are ubiquitous in sociological explanation. Recent theoretical work has sought to extend mechanistic explanation further still: into cultural and interpretative analysis. Yet it is not clear that the concept of mechanism can coherently unify interpretation and causal explanation within a single explanatory framework. We note that sociological mechanistic explanation is marked by a crucial disjuncture.
  7. Thinking with Bourdieu against Bourdieu: A ‘Practical’ Critique of the Habitus

    There are two strands in Bourdieu's sociological writings. On the one hand, Bourdieu argues for a theoretical position one might term his “practical theory” which emphasizes virtuosic interactions between individuals. On the other hand, and most frequently, Bourdieu appeals to the concept of the habitus according to which society consists of objective structures and determined—and isolated—individuals.

  8. The Meaning of 'Theory'

    ‘Theory’ is one of the most important words in the lexicon of contemporary sociology. Yet, their ubiquity notwithstanding, it is quite unclear what sociologists mean by the words ‘theory,’ ‘theoretical,’ and ‘theorize.’ I argue that confusions about the meaning of ‘theory’ have brought about undesirable consequences, including conceptual muddles and even downright miscommunication. In this paper I tackle two questions: (a) what does ‘theory’ mean in the sociological language?; and (b) what ought ‘theory’ to mean in the sociological language? I proceed in five stages.

  9. We Want Black Students, Just Not You: How White Admissions Counselors Screen Black Prospective Students (OnlineFirst)

    Most historically and predominantly white institutions (HPWIs) now desire some number of black students on their campuses. However, recent theoretical scholarship suggests that HPWIs’ desire for and willingness to embrace black students is predicated on their racial palatability. The theory of intraracial discrimination stipulates that white gatekeepers are increasingly inclined to screen blacks to “weed out” those they perceive as too concerned with race and racism.

  10. Data Collection as Disruption: Insights from a Longitudinal Study of Young Adulthood

    Research disrupts the social world, often by making respondents aware that they are being observed or by instigating reflection upon particular aspects of life via the very act of asking questions. Building on insights from the first Hawthorne studies, reflexive ethnographers, and methodologists concerned with panel conditioning, we draw on six years of research within a community in southern Malawi to introduce a conceptual framework for theorizing disruption in observational research.