American Sociological Association

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  1. Teaching Note: Social Networks and Labor Market Inequality: A Role-playing Activity to Teach Difficult Concepts

    Role-playing activities, as a form of active learning, enable instructors to teach difficult concepts in ways that better facilitate student learning. This note tests the effectiveness of a role-playing activity that simulates the job market: Most students play job seekers seeking employment, and a few play the employers who make employment decisions. However, students are constrained in that they can only talk to students they already know or meet during the game.
  2. The Paradox of Persistence: Explaining the Black-White Gap in Bachelor’s Degree Completion

    Bachelor’s degree (BA) completion is lower among black students than among white students. In this study, we use data from the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 and the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, together with regression-based analytical techniques, to identify the primary sources of the BA completion gap. We find that black students’ lower academic and socioeconomic resources are the biggest drivers of the gap. However, we also find that black students are more likely to enroll in four-year colleges than are white students, given pre-college resources.
  3. Do They Have to Like It to Learn from It? Students’ Experiences, Group Dynamics, and Learning Outcomes in Group Research Projects

    Small-group pedagogies, such as group research projects, are a common instructional method in undergraduate education. The literature suggests that small-group learning has positive effects on learning outcomes, but some students have negative attitudes toward group work, and student complaints about negative group dynamics, such as free-riding, are common.
  4. 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.

  5. Educational Inequality, Educational Expansion, and Intergenerational Income Persistence in the United States

    The children of high-income parents often become high-income adults, while their low-income peers often become low-income adults. Education plays a central role in this intergenerational income persistence. Because education-based inequalities grew in recent decades, many scholars predicted that intergenerational income persistence would increase. However, previous research suggests that it remained stable across recent cohorts. We address this puzzle.
  6. “Raced” Organizations and the Academic Success of Underrepresented Minority Faculty Members in Sociology

    The purpose of this research is to determine whether participating in “raced” organizations benefits underrepresented minority (URM) faculty members in their quest for tenure and promotion to associate professor of sociology. Raced organizations such as historically black colleges and universities began as segregated institutions because black students and faculty members were prevented from attending or working at white-dominated institutions.
  7. Trends in the Association between a College Education and Political Tolerance, 1976–2016

    In this data visualization, we use data from the General Social Survey to explore long-running trends in the association between a college education and political tolerance toward five groups. For tolerance toward militarists, anti-religionists, communists, and gay men, we show that the tolerance gap between college-educated and non–college educated individuals has narrowed, and this is largely attributable to increased tolerance among the non–college educated.

  8. Social Networks and Educational Attainment among Adolescents Experiencing Pregnancy

    Pregnant adolescents are a population at risk for dropout and have been found to complete fewer years of education than peers. Pregnant girls’ social experience in school may be a factor in their likelihood to persist, as social integration is thought to buffer dropout risk. Pregnant teens have been found to have fewer friends than their peers, but the academic ramifications of these social differences have yet to be studied. In this study the author examines whether friendship networks are associated with the relationship between adolescent pregnancy and educational attainment.

  9. Inequality in Reading and Math Skills Forms Mainly before Kindergarten: A Replication, and Partial Correction, of “Are Schools the Great Equalizer?”

    When do children become unequal in reading and math skills? Some research claims that inequality grows mainly before school begins. Some research claims that schools cause inequality to grow. And some research—including the 2004 study ‘‘Are Schools the Great Equalizer?’’—claims that inequality grows mainly during summer vacations. Unfortunately, the test scores used in the Great Equalizer study suffered from a measurement artifact that exaggerated estimates of inequality growth. In addition, the Great Equalizer study is dated and its participants are no longer school-aged.
  10. Intergenerational Mobility at the Top of the Educational Distribution

    Research has shown that intergenerational mobility is higher among individuals with a college degree than those with lower levels of schooling. However, mobility declines among graduate degree holders. This finding questions the meritocratic power of higher education. Prior research has been hampered, however, by the small samples of advanced degree holders in representative surveys.