American Sociological Association


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  1. Comment: Evidence, Plausibility, and Model Selection

    In his article, Michael Schultz examines the practice of model selection in sociological research. Model selection is often carried out by means of classical hypothesis tests. A fundamental problem with this practice is that these tests do not give a measure of evidence. For example, if we test the null hypothesis β = 0 against the alternative hypothesis β ≠ 0, what is the largest p value that can be regarded as strong evidence against the null hypothesis? What is the largest p value that can be regarded as any kind of evidence against the null hypothesis?
  2. The Problem of Underdetermination in Model Selection

    Conventional model selection evaluates models on their ability to represent data accurately, ignoring their dependence on theoretical and methodological assumptions. Drawing on the concept of underdetermination from the philosophy of science, the author argues that uncritical use of methodological assumptions can pose a problem for effective inference. By ignoring the plausibility of assumptions, existing techniques select models that are poor representations of theory and are thus suboptimal for inference.
  3. Qualitative Comparative Analysis in Critical Perspective

    Qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) appears to offer a systematic means for case-oriented analysis. The method not only offers to provide a standardized procedure for qualitative research but also serves, to some, as an instantiation of deterministic methods. Others, however, contest QCA because of its deterministic lineage. Multiple other issues surrounding QCA, such as its response to measurement error and its ability to ascertain asymmetric causality, are also matters of interest.

  4. 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.

  5. Terror, Terrorism, Terrorists

    The terms terror, terrorism, and terrorist do not identify causally coherent and distinct social phenomena but strategies that recur across a wide variety of actors and political situations. Social scientists who reify the terms confuse themselves and render a disservice to public discussion. The U.S. government's own catalogs of terrorist events actually support both claims.

  6. Practicing Intersectionality in Sociological Research: A Critical Analysis of Inclusions, Interactions, and Institutions in the Study of Inequalities

    In this article we ask what it means for sociologists to practice intersectionality as a theoretical and methodological approach to inequality. What are the implications for choices of subject matter and style of work? We distinguish three styles of understanding intersectionality in practice: group-centered, process-centered, and system-centered. The first, emphasizes placing multiply-marginalized groups and their perspectives at the center of the research.

  7. Theory Construction in Qualitative Research: From Grounded Theory to Abductive Analysis

    A critical pathway for conceptual innovation in the social is the construction of theoretical ideas based on empirical data. Grounded theory has become a leading approach promising the construction of novel theories. Yet grounded theory–based theoretical innovation has been scarce in part because of its commitment to let theories emerge inductively rather than imposing analytic frameworks a priori. We note, along with a long philosophical tradition, that induction does not logically lead to novel theoretical insights.

  8. Visualizing Bring-backs

    The figure plots the number of articles that have attempted to “bring” something “back in” in the social sciences by publication year and number of citations. Andrew Abbott, taking a (pessimistic) sociology of knowledge perspective, identified this tendency—beginning with Homans’s classic article “Bringing Men Back in”—as emblematic of the tendency to rediscover old ideas in sociology. The plot shows that “bring-backs” did not become a common yearly occurrence until the mid to late 1990s but are now relatively frequent.
  9. Gender Norms, Work-Family Policies, and Labor Force Participation among Immigrant and Native-born Women in Western Europe

    Though women’s labor force participation has increased over recent decades, it remains lower than men’s in nearly every advanced democracy. Some groups of migrant and ethnic minority women have especially low rates of labor force participation, which is often attributed to cultures of origin that are less normatively supportive of women’s paid work outside the home. I argue in this paper that the gender norms women have been exposed to in their families and countries of origin interact with work-family policies to shape patterns of labor force participation.
  10. When Do Biological Attributions of Mental Illness Reduce Stigma? Using Qualitative Comparative Analysis to Contextualize Attributions

    Individuals increasingly have encountered messages that mental illness is explained by biological factors such as chemical imbalance or genetic abnormality. Many assumed this “biological turn” would lessen stigma toward mental illness, but stigma generally has remained stable or even increased.