Author: Ross M. Stolzenberg
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing
Category: Social Science
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Sociological Methodology 32 is a compendium of new and sometimes controversial advances in social science methodology. Contributions are diverse and have something useful and often surprising to say about a wide range of topics: A symposium by four legal scholars considers some practical but remarkably complex legal and ethical issues that are raised whenever researchers collect information about individuals that is not in the public domain. Common practice may be the worst thing a researcher can do to protect data confidentiality, or it might be the right thing to do after all, say these authors. Three authors propose changes in the way geographic segregation should be measured. These new measures prepare sociology for the increasing complexity of American ethnic and racial residential patterns, and for expected improvements in the quantity and quality of geographic information about survey respondents. Theory and method are often seen as polar opposites in sociology, but there are methods for theory-building and theories of methodology. Four authors present new methods for using formal logic to construct sociological theories and for using research findings to modify formal theories. Field studies and statistical analysis of survey data are often characterized as alternatives to each other. One author presents a systematic method for combining the two techniques, to the mutual benefit of them both. Three other authors make significant contributions to the statistical methodology. Four authors contribute to the growing set of tools and techniques for understanding network data. In short, Sociological Methodology 2002 holds something of value – and an interesting mix of lively controversy too – for an exceedingly wide range of research methods practiced by contemporary sociologists and researchers in related fields.