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  1. 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.
  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Trust in the Bayou City: Do Racial Segregation and Discrimination Matter for Generalized Trust?

    The key role that generalized trust plays in social capital formation is well documented, but its determinants are not well understood. Many studies suggest that racially and ethnically diverse areas have lower generalized trust than more homogeneous areas, but evidence regarding the impact of the spatial arrangement of racial and ethnic groups is not conclusive. Further, while scholars theorize that discrimination may play a role in racial trust gaps, no study has empirically supported this linkage.
  8. Dress Codes and Racial Discrimination in Urban Nightclubs

    In recent years, sociologists and others have suggested that nightclub owners have used dress codes to covertly discriminate against African Americans and Latinos. We test this claim using experimental audit methods where matched pairs of African American, Latino, and white men attempt to enter urban nightclubs with dress codes in large metropolitan areas (N = 159). We find systematic evidence that African Americans are denied access to nightclubs more often than similarly appearing whites and (in some cases) Latinos attempting to enter the same nightclubs.
  9. White and Latino Locational Attainments: Assessing the Role of Race and Resources in U.S. Metropolitan Residential Segregation

    This study examines White-Latino residential segregation in six U.S. metropolitan areas using new methods to draw a connection between two dominant research traditions in the segregation literature and empirically analyze prevailing conceptual frameworks. Based on microlevel locational attainment analyses, we find that for Latinos, acculturation and socioeconomic status are positively associated with greater residential contact with Whites and thus promote lower segregation consistent with predictions of spatial assimilation theory.
  10. Teaching Critical Perspectives on Body Weight: The Obesity “Epidemic” and Pro-Ana Movement in Classroom Discussions

    While most sociology students are well prepared to think critically about inequalities involving race, gender, social class, and sexuality, the topics of body weight and health present some challenges for classroom discussion. Primarily, this is due to the body’s status in contemporary society as simultaneously malleable (able to be changed) and intractable (an indicator of moral worth). Such associations lead to cases of size discrimination—what is often called “sizeism”—with impacts similar to what is experienced around race and gender discrimination.