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  1. Biases of Online Political Polls: Who Participates?

    With a large portion of the population online and the high cost of phone-based surveys, querying people about their voter preference online can offer an affordable and timely alternative. However, given that there are biases in who adopts various sites and services that are often used as sampling frames (e.g., various social media), online political polls may not represent the views of the overall population. How are such polls biased? Who is most likely to participate in them?
  2. Testing for Discrimination: Teaching Audit Studies in Quantitative Methods Courses

    This article demonstrates a method for teaching students to conduct audit studies of discrimination. The assignment can be used in courses on quantitative methods, race, gender, or other topics. Audit studies test for unequal treatment by having otherwise identical pairs of people who vary on a single trait, such as race or gender, apply for the same sets of opportunities, such as apartment vacancies or job openings. Once intricate and expensive to conduct, the online shift of the past 15 years has streamlined the approach, enabling researchers to execute audits via email.

  3. Can Online Courses Deliver In-class Results? A Comparison of Student Performance and Satisfaction in an Online versus a Face-to-face Introductory Sociology Course

    This study uses a quasi-experimental design to assess differences in student performance and satisfaction across online and face-to-face (F2F) classroom settings. Data were collected from 368 students enrolled in three online and three F2F sections of an introductory-level sociology course. The instructor, course materials, and assessments were consistent between the two delivery formats. The investigators compare student satisfaction and student performance on midterm exams and an integrating data analysis assignment.

  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. Featured Essay: Lost and Saved . . . Again: The Moral Panic about the Loss of Community Takes Hold of Social Media

    Why does every generation believe that relationships were stronger and community better in the recent past? Lamenting about the loss of community, based on a selective perception of the present and an idealization of ‘‘traditional community,’’ dims awareness of powerful inequalities and cleavages that have always pervaded human society and favors deterministic models over a nuanced understanding of how network affordances contribute to different outcomes. Taylor Dotson’s (2017) recent book proposes a broader timeline for the demise of community.
  6. Visualizing Stochastic Actor-based Model Microsteps

    This visualization provides a dynamic representation of the microsteps involved in modeling network and behavior change with a stochastic actor-based model. This video illustrates how (1) observed time is broken up into a series of simulated microsteps and (2) these microsteps serve as the opportunity for actors to change their network ties or behavior. The example model comes from a widely used tutorial, and we provide code to allow for adapting the visualization to one’s own model.

  7. Broken Windows as Growth Machines: Who Benefits from Urban Disorder and Crime?

    Using interview data from two groups in the Woodlawn neighborhood on Chicago's South Side—mothers of young children and neighborhood merchants—this paper suggests a way of connecting two dominant ways of conceiving of physical disorder in urban spaces, one of which focuses on physical disorder as a root of social disorder and another that focuses on physical disorder as an economic prerequisite for gentrification. Specifically, elites can deploy signs of disorder in moral and reputational terms in the urban political arena to gain economic advantages for themselves.

  8. Understanding the Crime Gap: Violence and Inequality in an American City

    The United States has experienced an unprecedented decline in violent crime over the last two decades. Throughout this decline, however, violent crime continued to concentrate in socially and economically disadvantaged urban neighborhoods. Using detailed homicide records from 1990 to 2010, this study examines the spatial patterning of violent crime in Chicago to determine whether or not all neighborhoods experienced decreases in violence.

  9. Analyzing the Social Construction of Media Claims: Enhancing Media Literacy in Social Problems Classes

    Recent research has called on scholars to develop pedagogical interventions to address issues of media literacy. This teaching note answers that call by describing a media literacy project designed for use in social problems classes. The project acquaints students to the constructionist approach to social problems and the method of content analysis. Guided by the principles of scaffolding, the note discusses how students are guided through a series of readings, assignments, and activities that enables them to analyze how social problems are portrayed in news media.
  10. Call Your Representatives: Connecting Classroom Learning to Real-world Policy Action

    This article presents an in-class exercise that teaches students how to call elected officials about a course-related issue of their choice. The goals are to connect classroom learning with real-life action, to show that contacting elected officials need not be difficult or intimidating, and to help students develop a sense of efficacy that can contribute to ongoing engagement. I describe the exercise and present evidence that it led students to call their elected officials, most for the first time ever.