The entire February issue of SMR, a special issue on Sequence Analysis, has been posted to the blog. Users can download a PDF of each article free of charge. The special issue has been edited by Christian Brzinsky-Fay and Ulrich Kohler of the Social Science Research Center, Berlin (Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung), and features papers by Brendan Halpin, Laurent Lesnard, Cees Elzinga, Silke Aisenbrey and Anette Fasang, and Michael Anyadike-Danes and Duncan McVicar. The citations and abstracts will be posted to the blog as soon as they become available online.
This special issue of “Sociological Methods & Research” collects major contributions to the further development of sequence analysis. This method constitutes an essential tool for examining categorical time-series or sequential data and provides the exploration, quantification, illustration, comparison, and grouping of these types of data. Since processor speed and computer capacities have increased enormously within the last decade, it is now possible to conduct algorithmic calculations necessary for sequence comparison with huge datasets. The special issue takes on the debate between Abbott / Tsay and Levine and Wu about the scientific potential of sequence comparison methods (SMR, volume 29, issue 1) and provides answers to the critical points mentioned there. The articles are concerned with the sociological meaningfulness of algorithmic operations, the usefulness for sociological fields of study – such as the analysis of life-courses and careers – the validation of different distance measures, and the creation of indicators that measure sequence characteristics. The issue is composed of contributions from European as well as American scholars and addresses all social scientists interested in the handling of sequential data.