Book Review: Sociological Methodology, Edited by Ross Stolzenberg

February 7, 2010

Book Review: Regression Analysis: A Constructive Critique. Advanced Quantitative Techniques in the Social Sciences Series 11, by Richard A. Berk

February 7, 2010

Book Review: Regression With Social Data: Modeling Continuous and Limited Response Variables, by Alfred DeMaris

February 7, 2010

A Conceptual Framework for Ordered Logistic Regression Models

February 7, 2010

“Andrew S. Fullerton” : A Conceptual Framework for Ordered Logistic Regression Models, Sociological Methods & Research 2009 38: 306-347.

Ordinal-level measures are very common in social science research. Researchers often analyze ordinal dependent variables using the proportional odds logistic regression model. However, Read the rest of this entry »


Question Order and Interviewer Effects in CATI Scale-up Surveys

February 7, 2010

Silvia Snidero, Federica Zobec, Paola Berchialla, Roberto Corradetti, and Dario Gregori Question Order and Interviewer Effects in CATI Scale-up Surveys Sociological Methods & Research 2009 38: 287-305.

The scale-up estimator is a network-based estimator for the size of hidden or hard to count subpopulations. Several issues arise in the public health context when the aim is the estimation of injuries occurring in a certain population, Read the rest of this entry »


A Coefficient of Association Between Categorical Variables With Partial or Tentative Ordering of Categories

February 7, 2010

Volkert Siersma and Svend Kreiner: A Coefficient of Association Between Categorical Variables With Partial or Tentative Ordering of Categories Sociological Methods & Research 2009 38: 265-286.

Goodman and Kruskal’s {gamma} coefficient measuring monotone association and its partial variants are useful for the analysis of multiway contingency tables containing ordinal variables. When the categories of a variable are only partly ordered Read the rest of this entry »


Is Optimal Matching Suboptimal?

February 7, 2010

Matissa Hollister Is Optimal Matching Suboptimal? Sociological Methods & Research 2009 38: 235-264.

Optimal matching (OM) is a method for measuring the similarity between pairs of sequences (e.g., work histories). This article discusses two problems with optimal matching. First, the authoridentifies a flaw in OM ‘‘indel costs’’ and proposes a solution Read the rest of this entry »


How Much Does It Cost?: Optimization of Costs in Sequence Analysis of Social Science Data

February 7, 2010

Jacques-Antoine Gauthier, Eric D. Widmer, Philipp Bucher, and Cédric Notredame How Much Does It Cost?: Optimization of Costs in Sequence Analysis of Social Science Data Sociological Methods & Research 2009 38: 197-231.

One major methodological problem in analysis of sequence data is the determination of costs from which distances between sequences are derived. Although this problem is currently not optimally dealt with in the social sciences, it has Read the rest of this entry »


Tracing the Effects of Hurricane Katrina on the Population of New Orleans: The Displaced New Orleans Residents Pilot Study

February 7, 2010

Narayan Sastry: Tracing the Effects of Hurricane Katrina on the Population of New Orleans: The Displaced New Orleans Residents Pilot Study, Sociological Methods & Research 2009 38: 171-196.

The Displaced New Orleans Residents Pilot Study is designed to examine the current location, well-being, and plans of people who lived in the city of New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina struck Read the rest of this entry »


Robustness of Group-Based Models for Longitudinal Count Data

February 7, 2010

David L. Weakliem and Bradley R. Entner Wright Robustness of Group-Based Models for Longitudinal Count Data Sociological Methods & Research 2009 38: 147-170.

In recent years, there have been efforts to develop latent class models for trajectories. The semiparametric mixed Poisson regression (SMPR) model has been used in many empirical studies, but there have been few attempts to evaluate the robustness of the estimates Read the rest of this entry »


Goodness-of-Fit Tests and Descriptive Measures in Fuzzy-Set Analysis

February 7, 2010

Scott R. Eliason and Robin Stryker Goodness-of-Fit Tests and Descriptive Measures in Fuzzy-Set Analysis Sociological Methods & Research 2009 38: 102-146.

In this article the authors develop goodness-of-fit tests for fuzzy-set analyses to formally assess the fit between empirical information and various causal hypotheses while accounting formeasurement error in membership scores. These goodness-of-fit tests, Read the rest of this entry »


Inferring Causal Complexity

February 7, 2010

Michael Baumgartner Inferring Causal Complexity Sociological Methods & Research 2009 38: 71-101.

In The Comparative Method, Ragin (1987) outlined a procedure of Boolean causal reasoning operating on pure coincidence data that has since become widely known as qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) among social scientists. QCA—including its recent forms as presented in Ragin (2000, 2008) Read the rest of this entry »


A Case for Cases: Comparative Narratives in Sociological Explanation

February 7, 2010

Peter Abell A Case for Cases: Comparative Narratives in Sociological Explanation Sociological Methods & Research 2009 38: 38-70.

When case studies are constructed as narratives, then causal explanation can be achieved without either comparison or generalization. Narratives provide paths of causal links on a chronology ofactions or events. Read the rest of this entry »


Measuring High School Graduation Rates at the State Level: What Difference Does Methodology Make?

February 7, 2010

John Robert Warren and Andrew Halpern-Manners Measuring High School Graduation Rates at the State Level: What Difference Does Methodology Make? Sociological Methods & Research 2009 38: 3-37.

Recent evidence makes clear that states public high school graduation rates are well measured using information from the Common Core of Data (CCD). This article investigates the substantive consequences for the results of empirical analyses Read the rest of this entry »


A Reply to Zax’s (2002) Critique of Grofman and Migalski (1988): Double-Equation Approaches to Ecological Inference When the Independent Variable Is Misspecified

February 7, 2010

Bernard Grofman and Matt A. Barreto A Reply to Zax’s (2002) Critique of Grofman and Migalski (1988): Double-Equation Approaches to Ecological Inference When the Independent Variable Is Misspecified  Sociological Methods & Research 2009 37: 599-617.

The authors reply to Zax’s critique of the double-equation method for ecological regression and of the specific extension to it proposed by Grofman and Migalski. Read the rest of this entry »


Name-Based Cluster Sampling

February 7, 2010

Douglas A. Ferguson Name-Based Cluster Sampling  Sociological Methods & Research 2009 37: 590-598.

An innovative method is proposed for generating valid national samples of online e-mail addresses that are proportionate to the population. Although multistage cluster sampling is not new, Read the rest of this entry »


Critiquing Models of Emotions

February 7, 2010

Herman Smith and Andreas Schneider Critiquing Models of Emotions  Sociological Methods & Research 2009 37: 560-589.

This article provides the first systematic empirical examination of four major genres of theories concerning the nature and rise of the corpus of human emotions with more than 2,000 statisticaltests of five hypotheses. Read the rest of this entry »


Using Heterogeneous Choice Models to Compare Logit and Probit Coefficients Across Groups

February 7, 2010

Richard Williams Using Heterogeneous Choice Models to Compare Logit and Probit Coefficients Across Groups  Sociological Methods & Research 2009 37: 531-559.

Allison (1999) notes that comparisons of logit and probit coefficients across groups can be invalid and misleading, proposes a procedure by which these problems can be corrected, and argues that “routine use [of this method] seems advisable” and that “it is hard to see how [the method] can be improved.” Read the rest of this entry »


Changing Neighborhoods—Neighborhoods Changing: A Framework for Spatially Explicit Agent-Based Models of Social Systems

February 7, 2010

David O’Sullivan Changing Neighborhoods—Neighborhoods Changing: A Framework for Spatially Explicit Agent-Based Models of Social Systems Sociological Methods & Research 2009 37: 498-530.

The nature of urban neighborhoods, neighborhood effects, and the dynamics of residential segregation are important themes in contemporary sociological inquiry. Agent-based models ofsocial systems have been widely applied in this context. However, Read the rest of this entry »


From Schelling to Spatially Explicit Modeling of Urban Ethnic and Economic Residential Dynamics

February 7, 2010

Itzhak Benenson, Erez Hatna, and Ehud Or From Schelling to Spatially Explicit Modeling of Urban Ethnic and Economic Residential Dynamics  Sociological Methods & Research 2009 37: 463-497.

The robustness of outcomes to the parameterization of behavioral rules is a crucial property of any model aimed at simulating complex human systems. Schelling model of residential segregationsatisfies this criterion. Based on Read the rest of this entry »


Stephen Vaisey Book Review: M. Smithson and J. Verkuilen (2006). Fuzzy Set Theory: Applications in the Social Sciences. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Sociological Methods & Research 2009 37: 455-457.

February 7, 2010

Smartphones: An Emerging Tool for Social Scientists

February 7, 2010

Mika Raento, Antti Oulasvirta, and Nathan Eagle Smartphones: An Emerging Tool for Social Scientists  Sociological Methods & Research 2009 37: 426-454.

Recent developments in mobile technologies have produced a new kind of device: a programmable mobile phone, the smartphone. In this article, the authors argue that the technological and social characteristics of this device make it a useful tool Read the rest of this entry »


Designing Scalar Questions for Web Surveys

February 7, 2010

Leah Melani Christian, Nicholas L. Parsons, and Don A. Dillman Designing Scalar Questions for Web Surveys Sociological Methods & Research 2009 37: 393-425. SMR 37:3 was a Special Issue on Web Surveys.

This paper explores how the visual design of scalar questions influences responses in web surveys. We present the results of five experiments Read the rest of this entry »


Design of Web Questionnaires: An Information-Processing Perspective for the Effect of Response Categories

February 7, 2010

Vera Toepoel, Corrie Vis, Marcel Das, and Arthur van Soest Design of Web Questionnaires: An Information-Processing Perspective for the Effect of Response Categories  Sociological Methods & Research 2009 37: 371-392.

In this article, an information-processing perspective is used to explore the impact of response categories on the answers respondents provide in Web surveys. Response categories have a significant effect Read the rest of this entry »


Web Survey Design: Balancing Measurement, Response, and Topical Interest

February 7, 2010

Kevin O. Shropshire, James E. Hawdon, and James C. Witte Web Survey Design: Balancing Measurement, Response, and Topical Interest  Sociological Methods & Research 2009 37: 344-370.

Using data from Survey2001, we analyze how visual images embedded in a web-based survey can (1) reduce nonresponse in the specific case that a respondent prematurely terminates the survey and (2) preserve measurement validity. Page-by-page progression Read the rest of this entry »


Estimation for Volunteer Panel Web Surveys Using Propensity Score Adjustment and Calibration Adjustment

February 7, 2010

Sunghee Lee and Richard Valliant Estimation for Volunteer Panel Web Surveys Using Propensity Score Adjustment and Calibration Adjustment  Sociological Methods & Research 2009 37: 319-343.

A combination of propensity score and calibration adjustment is shown to reduce bias in volunteer panel Web surveys. In this combination, the design weights are adjusted by propensity scores to correct for selection bias due to nonrandomized sampling. These adjusted weights Read the rest of this entry »


Selection Bias in Web Surveys and the Use of Propensity Scores

February 7, 2010

Matthias Schonlau, Arthur van Soest, Arie Kapteyn, and Mick Couper Selection Bias in Web Surveys and the Use of Propensity Scores  Sociological Methods & Research 2009 37: 291-318.

Web surveys are a popular survey mode, but the subpopulation with Internet access may not represent the population of interest. The authors investigate whether adjusting using weights or matching on a small set of variables makes the distributions Read the rest of this entry »


Introduction to the Special Issue on Web Surveys

February 7, 2010

James C. Witte Introduction to the Special Issue on Web Surveys  Sociological Methods & Research 2009 37: 283-290.

Introduction to Special Issue on Web Surveys


Introducing Social and Ethical Perspectives on Gene—Environment Research

February 7, 2010

Gail E. Henderson Introducing Social and Ethical Perspectives on Gene—Environment Research  Sociological Methods & Research 2008 37: 251-276.

Sociologists are increasingly involved with the design and execution of studies that examine the interplay between genes and environment, requiring expertise in measurement of both genetic and nongenetic factors. In addition, Read the rest of this entry »


Variance Components and Related Methods for Mapping Quantitative Trait Loci

February 7, 2010

S.S. Cherny Variance Components and Related Methods for Mapping Quantitative Trait Loci  Sociological Methods & Research 2008 37: 227-250.

Variance components methods have been used in various aspects of genetic analysis for many decades. This article discusses their application to data on quantitative traits for the estimation of polygenic and environmental variances as well as, Read the rest of this entry »


How Is a Statistical Link Established Between a Human Outcome and a Genetic Variant?

February 7, 2010

Guang Guo and Daniel E. Adkins How Is a Statistical Link Established Between a Human Outcome and a Genetic Variant?  Sociological Methods & Research 2008 37: 201-226.

The objective of this article is to provide a nontechnical and intuitive introduction to the basic concepts and techniques that are used to establish statistical connections between genetic variants and human phenotypes. Read the rest of this entry »


The Importance of Gene—Environment Interaction: Implications for Social Scientists

February 7, 2010

Kari E. North and Lisa J. Martin The Importance of Gene—Environment Interaction: Implications for Social Scientists  Sociological Methods & Research 2008 37: 164-200

Given recent genetic advances, it is not surprising that genetics information is increasingly being used to improve health care. Thousands of conditions caused by single genes (Mendelian diseases) have been identified over the last century. However, Mendelian diseases are rare; thus, few individuals directly benefit Read the rest of this entry »


Introduction to the Special Issue on Society and Genetics

February 7, 2010

Guang Guo Introduction to the Special Issue on Society and Genetics  Sociological Methods & Research 2008 37: 159-163.

Introduction to the Special issue on Society and Genetics.


A Three-Dimensional Latent Variable Model for Attitude Scales

February 7, 2010

Shing-On Leung A Three-Dimensional Latent Variable Model for Attitude Scales  Sociological Methods & Research 2008 37: 135-154.

The author proposes a three-dimensional latent variable (trait) model for analyzing attitudinal scaled data. It is successfully applied to two examples: one with 12 binary items and the other with 8 items of five categories each. The models are exploratory instead of confirmatory, Read the rest of this entry »


Web-Based Network Sampling: Efficiency and Efficacy of Respondent-Driven Sampling for Online Research

February 7, 2010

Cyprian Wejnert and Douglas D. Heckathorn Web-Based Network Sampling: Efficiency and Efficacy of Respondent-Driven Sampling for Online Research  Sociological Methods & Research 2008 37: 105-134.

This study tests the feasibility, effectiveness, and efficiency of respondent-driven sampling (RDS) as a Web-based sampling method. Web-based RDS (WebRDS) is found to be highly efficient and effective. The online nature of WebRDS allows referral chains Read the rest of this entry »


A New Mixture Model for Misclassification With Applications for Survey Data

February 7, 2010

Simon Cheng, Yingmei Xi, and Ming-Hui Chen A New Mixture Model for Misclassification With Applications for Survey Data  Sociological Methods & Research 2008 37: 75-104.

Social scientists often rely on survey data to examine group differences. A problem with survey data is the potential misclassification of group membership due to poorly trained interviewers, inconsistent responses, or errors in marking questions. In data containing unequal subsample sizes, Read the rest of this entry »


Two Types of Inequality: Inequality Between Persons and Inequality Between Subgroups

February 7, 2010

Guillermina Jasso and Samuel Kotz Two Types of Inequality: Inequality Between Persons and Inequality Between Subgroups  Sociological Methods & Research 2008 37: 31-74.

This article analyzes the mathematical connections between two kinds of inequality: inequality between persons (e.g., income inequality) and inequality between subgroups (e.g., racial inequality). The authors define a general inequality parameter in two-parameter continuous distributions. This parameter governs Read the rest of this entry »


Publication Bias in Empirical Sociological Research: Do Arbitrary Significance Levels Distort Published Results?

February 7, 2010

Alan S. Gerber and Neil Malhotra Publication Bias in Empirical Sociological Research: Do Arbitrary Significance Levels Distort Published Results?  Sociological Methods & Research 2008 37: 3-30.

Despite great attention to the quality of research methods in individual studies, if publication decisions of journals are a function of the statistical significance of research findings, the published literature as a whole may not produce accurate measures of true effects. This article examines the two most prominent sociology journals (the American Sociological Review and the American Journal of Sociology) Read the rest of this entry »


Kenneth C. Land Book Review: Edited by R. M. Stolzenberg (2005). Sociological Methodology. Vol. 35. Washington, DC: American Sociological Association Sociological Methods & Research 2008 36: 564-568.

February 7, 2010

Phillip Bonacich Book Review: W. de Nooy, A. Mrvar, and V. Batagelj Exploratory Social Network Analysis With Pajek. (2004). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press Sociological Methods & Research 2008 36: 563-564.

February 7, 2010

Testing the Stability of an Acquiescence Style Factor Behind Two Interrelated Substantive Variables in a Panel Design

February 7, 2010

Jaak B. Billiet and Eldad Davidov Testing the Stability of an Acquiescence Style Factor Behind Two Interrelated Substantive Variables in a Panel Design  Sociological Methods & Research 2008 36: 542-562.

This article addresses the question of to what extent one type of response style, called acquiescence (or agreeing response bias), is stable over time. A structural equation modeling approach Read the rest of this entry »


Mariano Sana and Alexander A. Weinreb Insiders, Outsiders, and the Editing of Inconsistent Survey Data Sociological Methods & Research 2008 36: 515-541.

February 7, 2010

Data editing, a crucial task in the data production process, has received little scientific attention. Consequently, there is no consensus among social scientists about how data should be edited or by whom. While some argue that it should be left to data managers and data users, others claim that it is primarily a task for fieldworkers. The authors review these divergent approaches to editing and evaluate the underlying theoretical arguments. Results are reported from a methodological experiment in which different types of actors who are party to the data production and research process were asked to solve artificially generated inconsistencies in real survey data. Results are informative on two counts. First, the least accurate editors were the researchers with no field experience in the survey sites. Second, when provided with only partial information on which to make editing decisions, fieldworkers edited more accurately than both data managers and data users.

Key Words: data editing • data collection • data inconsistencies • insiders • fieldwork


Samuel Himmelfarb The Multi-Item Randomized Response Technique Sociological Methods & Research 2008 36: 495-514.

February 7, 2010

The randomized response technique (RRT) attempts to reduce social desirability bias in self-reports by creating a probabilistic relationship between the response given and the question posed. The multi-item RRT extends the RRT procedure to scales composed of multiple items. The multi-item RRT reduces the added variability contributed by the procedure and affords more accurate estimates of parameters than does a single-item RRT. Formulas are presented for correcting the mean, standard deviation, and correlation coefficient for the procedure. Data are presented from a study (Jarman 1996) of male date rape to illustrate the application of the multi-item RRT. Those data show higher reports of rape-supportive attitudes, beliefs, and sexual aggression under RRT conditions.

Key Words: randomized response • social desirability • sensitive topics • date rape


An Empirical Evaluation of the Use of Fixed Cutoff Points in RMSEA Test Statistic in Structural Equation Models

February 7, 2010

Feinian Chen, Patrick J. Curran, Kenneth A. Bollen, James Kirby, and Pamela Paxton An Empirical Evaluation of the Use of Fixed Cutoff Points in RMSEA Test Statistic in Structural Equation Models Sociological Methods & Research 2008 36: 462-494.

This article is an empirical evaluation of the choice of fixed cutoff points in assessing the root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA) test statistic as a measure of goodness-of-fit in StructuralEquation Models. Using simulation data, Read the rest of this entry »


Richard Breen Statistical Models of Association for Comparing Cross-Classifications Sociological Methods & Research 2008 36: 442-461.

February 7, 2010

In the analysis of cross-classified data, the quantities of interest are frequently odds ratios. Although odds ratios are functions of the interaction parameters in association models, the usual way of normalizing and identifying these parameters means that their relationship with the odds ratios of interest is indirect. This can lead to interpretative confusions. The author points to the benefits of defining the interaction parameters of a model to have a one-to-one relationship with the odds ratios of interest, thus overcoming problems of interpretation. Three examples are presented to illustrate the argument.

Key Words: log-linear and log-multiplicative models • odds ratios • crosstabulations • design matrices • comparative analysis


Charles C. Ragin and Sarah Ilene Strand Using Qualitative Comparative Analysis to Study Causal Order: Comment on Caren and Panofsky (2005) Sociological Methods & Research 2008 36: 431-441.

February 7, 2010

Caren and Panofsky (2005) seek to advance qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) by demonstrating that it can be used to study causal conditions that occur in sequences and introduce a technique they call TQCA (temporal QCA). In their formulation, the causal conjuncture is a sequence of conditions or events. The authors applaud their effort and agree that it is important to address this aspect of causation. This comment clarifies and corrects aspects of their analysis and present methods for assessing temporality that are more amenable to truth table analysis and the use of existing software, fsQCA. The methods presented utilize codings that indicate event order in addition to codings that indicate whether specific events occurred. They also demonstrate how to use “don’t care” codings to bypass consideration of event sequences when they are not relevant (e.g., as when only a single event occurs).

Key Words: qualitative comparative analysis • temporal sequences • causal analysis • comparative method


Robert M. O’Brien, Kenneth Hudson, and Jean Stockard A Mixed Model Estimation of Age, Period, and Cohort Effects Sociological Methods & Research 2008 36: 402-428.

February 7, 2010

For more than 30 years, sociologists and demographers have struggled to come to terms with the age, period, cohort conundrum: Given the linear dependency between age groups, periods, and cohorts, how can these effects be estimated separately? This article offers a partial solution to this problem. The authors treat cohort effects as random effects and age and period effects as fixed effects in a mixed model. Using this approach, they can (1) assess the amount of variance in the dependent variable that is associated with cohorts while controlling for the age and period dummy variables, (2) model the dependencies that result from the age-period-specific rates for a single cohort being observed multiple times, and (3) assess how much of the variance in observations that is associated with cohorts is explained by differences in the characteristics of cohorts. The authors use empirical data to see how their results compare with other analyses in the literature.

Key Words: age • period • cohort • mixed models


A Mechanism-Based Approach to the Identification of Age–Period–Cohort Models

February 7, 2010

Christopher Winship and David J. Harding A Mechanism-Based Approach to the Identification of Age–Period–Cohort Models Sociological Methods & Research 2008 36: 362-401. SMR 36:3 was a Special Issue on Age-Period-Cohort Analysis.

Chris Winship, SMR EditorThis article offers a new approach to the identification of age–period–cohort (APC) models that builds on Pearl’s work on nonparametric causal models, in particular his front-door criterion for the identification of causal effects. Read the rest of this entry »


Wenjiang J. Fu A Smoothing Cohort Model in Age–Period–Cohort Analysis With Applications to Homicide Arrest Rates and Lung Cancer Mortality Rates Sociological Methods & Research 2008 36: 327-361.

February 7, 2010

This article considers the effects of age, period, and cohort in social studies and chronic disease epidemiology through age–period–cohort (APC) analysis. These factors are linearly dependent; thus, the multiple classification model, a regression model that takes these factors as covariates in APC analysis, suffers from an identifiability problem with multiple estimators. A data set of homicide arrest rates is used to illustrate the problem. A smoothing cohort model is proposed that allows flexible structure of the effects for age, period, and cohort and avoids the identifiability problem. Results are provided for the consistency of estimation of model intercept and age effects as the number of periods goes to infinity under a mild bounded cohort condition. This also leads to consistent estimation for period and cohort effects. Analyses of homicide arrest rate and lung cancer mortality rate data demonstrate that the smoothing cohort model yields unique parameter estimation with sensible trend interpretation.

Key Words: consistent estimation • identifiability • intrinsic estimator • semiparametric • singular design matrix • spline smoothing