On this page: Announcements;
Class Member Blogs;
About the Class; Required Texts;
Optional Texts; Schedule.
Announcements (recent first)
- 12-16 office hour at 2pm is already full -- extra office hours will be held from 3-4pm (Dec 16)
- New record! 5.5 pots of coffee were consumed at our final class meeting. (Dec 16)
- Final paper deadline extended to Thu. 12/18 at 2pm (Dec 14)
- (This syllablus last changed on Wednesday Jan 6.)
Class Member Blogs
Seminar Blog Site
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See also: What is a blog? (Drupal Documentation)
About This Class
Class Meetings: 121 Lincoln Hall (Note room change!), Thursdays, 2-4:50 p.m.
Instructor: Professor Christian Sandvig
Office: 133 Lincoln Hall
Office Hours: 2-3 Tuesdays and by appointment
Office Telephone: 333-0141 (use only during office hours)
Messages: 333-2683 (department office)
Mailbox: 244 Lincoln Hall
Any traditional research method was once unorthodox. While many are prone to see methods as boring tools (or even as a necessary but unpleasant step on the road to results), any common method was once daring and controversial. This seminar will cover very recent developments in both qualitative and quantitative social scientific research methods and attempt to address the question of how new research methods are invented, applied, transferred between problems and disciplines, and formalized. The overall focus of the course will be research design, rather than learning the procedures of a single method. In addition, we will spend some time trying to think creatively about possible new methods and designs. Readings in the course will be split between classics and readings concerning very recent innovations in methods. In discussion of recent methodological trends, particular attention will be paid to new digital sources of data, Internet / new media research, spatial / geographic methods, visualization, and unobtrusive methods. A goal of the seminar is to encourage researchers to conceptualize methodology -- whether using new or old methods -- as a creative act. Open to all students with no prerequisites, but some familiarity with a research method from any research tradition is recommended. (Restricted to graduate students.)
Students will be responsible for a seminar paper proposal and a research paper of about 25 pages. In addition, there will be short weekly assignments or "questions" due at the beginning of each class meeting when reading is assigned. These will be read and discussed in class but not graded. All assignments will be turned in electronically. No late work! No incompletes!
The weekly assignments will probably follow this pattern:
3 short responses to questions about methods
6 proposals for research designs
2 proposals for new scientific visualizations
1 suggestion for curricular material about methods
Edward Tufte. (2006). Beautiful Evidence. Cheshire, CT: Graphics Press. Order direct from publisher ($52).
Eugene J. Webb, Donald T. Campbell, Richard D. Schwartz, Lee Sechrest. (1999). Unobtrusive Measures. (rev. ed.) Sage Classics #2. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Order from Amazon.com
Raymond M. Lee. (2000). Unobtrusive Methods in Social Research. Philadelphia: Open University Press. Order from amazon.com
Christine Hine. (ed.). (2005). Virtual Methods: Issues in Social Research on the Internet. Oxford: Berg. Order from amazon.com
...and the research articles noted below in the schedule, available online as noted.
Suggested Books (Not Required)
Katharine Harmon. (2003). You Are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Architectural Press. Order from amazon.com
Howard S. Becker & Pamela Richards. (2007). Writing for Social Scientists: How to Start and Finish Your Thesis, Book, or Article (2nd ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Order from amazon.com
Michael Lesy. (2000). Wisconsin Death Trip. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. Order from amazon.com
Laud Humphreys. (1975). Tearoom Trade: Impersonal Sex in Public Places. (rev. ed.). Hawthorne, NY: Aldine De Gruyter / Transaction.
Remedial / Reference Reading:
||Methods, Instruments, and Orthodoxy
Popper, Karl. (1963) Conjectures and Refutations, London: Routledge and Keagan Paul. (read only pp. 33-39, Science as Falsification) On moodle.
Pajares, Frank. (n.d.) The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S. Kuhn: A Synopsis. The Philosopher's Magazine. On moodle.
Bird, Alexander. (2004). Thomas Kuhn. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Stanford, California: Metaphysics Research Laboratory. (Web reading: read the section Kuhn and Social Science)
Feyerabend, Paul. (1975). Against Method. New York: Humanities Press. (read "Analytical Index (being a sketch of the main argument)" and "Conclusion"). On moodle.
de Solla Price, Derek J. (1986). Little Science, Big Science... and Beyond. New York: Columbia University Press. (read the chapter: "Of Sealing Wax and String") On moodle.
Giddens, Anthony. (1989). The Orthodox Consensus and the Emerging Synthesis. In: Brenda Dervin, Lawrence Grossberg, Barbara J. O'Keefe, and Ellen Wartella (eds.) Rethinking Communication: Paradigm Issues, (Vol. 1) pp. 53-65. Newbury Park, California: Sage. On moodle.
Bavelas, J. B. (1987). Permitting creativity in science. In D. N. Jackson & J. P. Rushton (Eds.), Scientific excellence: Origins and assessment (pp. 307-327). Beverly Hills: Sage. On moodle.
Today's Question: What is the role of method in research? Drawing from one or more of the readings discussing this question, please write a short response (of at least 250 words) and bring it to class.
||Writing Method, Research as Genre, More on Orthodoxy
Smith, John K. & Heshusius, Lous. (1986). Closing Down the Conversation: The End of the Quantitative-Qualitative Debate Among Educational Inquirers. Educational Researcher 15(1): 4-12. On moodle.
Roth, Julius A. (1966). Hired Hand Research. American Sociologist 1(4): 190-196. On moodle.
Cain, Maureen & Finch, Janet. (1981). Towards a Rehabilitation of Data. In: P. Abrams, R. Deem, J. Finch & P. Rock (eds.), Practice and Progress: British Sociology 1950-1980. London: Allen and Unwin. (selected excerpts) On moodle.
Swales, John M. (1990). Episodes in the History of the Research Article. From: John M. Swales, Genre Analysis: English in Academic and Research Settings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (selected excerpts) On moodle.
McCloskey, D. N. (1985). From Methodology to Rhetoric. From: D. N. McCloskey, The Rhetoric of Economics. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. On moodle.
Harding, Sandra. (1987). Is There a Feminist Method? From: S. Harding, Feminism and Methodology. Buckingham: Open University Press. (selected excerpts) On moodle.
Maynard, Mary (1994). Methods, Practice, and Epistemology: The Debate About Feminism and Research. From: M. Maynard & J. Purvis (eds.), Researching Women's Lives from a Feminist Perspective. London: Taylor and Francis. (selected excerpts) On moodle.
Homework: Please login to the Blog Server for the class (instructions above), make a test posting as soon as possible to be sure it works, then post your answer to last week's question so that we will have a complete set online.
Today's Question: What grounds could you use to argue that one method is better than another? Drawing from one or more of the readings please write a short response and post it to your blog.
||When Old Methods Were New: The Quantitative Survey
Hacking, Ian. (1990). The Taming of Chance. New York: Cambridge University Press. (Read Ch. 1, The Argument [pp. 1-7]). On moodle
Hacking, Ian. (1990). The Taming of Chance. New York: Cambridge University Press. (Read Outline of Other Chapters). On moodle
Converse, Jean M. (1987). Survey Research in the United States: Roots and Emergence 1890-1960. Berkeley, California: University of California Press. (Read excerpt from Ch. 8, General Perspectives and Anticipations.) On moodle
Converse, Jean M. (1987). Survey Research in the United States: Roots and Emergence 1890-1960. Berkeley, California: University of California Press. (Read excerpt from Ch. 12, The Academic Establishment of Survey Research: A Summary and Evaluation.) On moodle
Homework: Please check your availability for a class meeting on 12/15.
Today's Question: Using survey research as an example, consider the question: If you want to establish a new research method, what will you need? Please draw from one or more of the readings and post a short response to your blog.
IMPORTANT: Class does not meet today! This class was rescheduled to 12/15.
Read Webb et al. book Ch. 1-5 (Approximations to Knowledge, Physical Traces: Erosion and Accretion, Archives I: The Running Record, Archives II: The Episodic and Private Record, and Simple Observation).
There is no question for today because of the instructor's incompetence at Web site management.
||Unobtrusive Methods I
Also discussed in class: sigma of 1/d distance measure, private/secret archives (e.g., Telejournal, TV Today, Legislative Issue Updates, etc.), quantitative historical datasets (industry diffusion, audience, voting behavior, etc.)
Read Webb et al. book Ch. 6-9 (Contrived Observation, A Final Note, A Statistician on Method, and Cardinal Newman's Epitaph.)
Read Lee book Ch. 1-2 (Introduction and Found Data).
Today's Question: Pick a research problem that you are interested in and familiar with (e.g., from another class, outside reading, your life). Use the material in the Webb book to think of creative unobrusive/nonreactive method to address the problem. Note the emphasis on creative -- please don't just regurgitate an example from the book.
||Unobtrusive Methods II
Also discussed in class: cortisol measurement, audit studies.
Read Lee book Ch. 3-7 (Captured Data, Retrieved Data, Unobtrusive Methods and the Internet, and Conclusion).
Today's Question is in two parts:
(1) Now that you've finished the Lee book, revisit your last blog post and revise it to see if your creative unobtrusive/nonreactive method can be improved. (Or, feel free to start again if you prefer.) This time, be sure you have stated a research problem, not just a method.
(2) Please post a one paragraph tentative idea for your seminar paper topic. This is only meant to be exploratory -- just something short to get you started so we don't put it off too long.
||Archives / Visual Argument (RESCHEDULED)
IMPORTANT: Note that this is a TUESDAY. This class meeting will be held from 7-9pm as we arranged. Location will be our usual room.
Also discussed in class: Digital archives, ethnographic film (briefly), documentary film, intellectual maps, visualizations in the history of ideas, historiography
Birnbaum, Robert. (2003). Interview: Michael Lesy. identitytheory. http://www.identitytheory.com/interviews/birnbaum125.php
(1890-1910). Wisconsin Death Trip Photographs. Charles Van Schaick Archive , Black River Falls, Wisconsin. Madison, WI: Wisconsin Historical Society. [N.B.: Please view ALL 140 of the photographs. It will take a while.] http://www.flickr.com/photos/whsimages/sets/72157602476458793/
Ball, Duane E. (1974). Review: Wisconsin Death Trip. The Journal of Economic History, 34 (2): 509-510. On moodle
Stoffle, Richard W. & Dobyns, Henry F. (1974). Review: Wisconsin Death Trip. Ethnohistory 21 (2): 171-172. On moodle
Gutman, Judith Maria. (1973). Reading Pictures. Reviews in American History 1 (4): 488-492. On moodle
[The weekly assignment this week is due Thursday, not today. Scroll down for it.]
This class has been rescheduled and moved to Tuesday. Class does not meet today. However, the blog post is still due.
Today's Question:: Propose a research design that responds to this prompt (MS Word Document) in a meaningful way. Include an empirical component (that is, "guided by experience with the world") in your design, and pilot test it if possible. Ensure that your design does not duplicate any other student in the class by reading the blogs posted before you (if you are scooped, change your design).
||Internet Research I
Also discussed in class: sousveillance / inverse surveillance studies, comparing datasets to note voids/absences
Hine book Ch. 1 (Hine: Virtual Methods and the Sociology of Cyber-Social-Scientific Knowledge)
Hine book Ch. 2 (Joinson: Internet Behavior and the Design of Virtual Methods)
Hine book Part II Introduction pp. 109-112.
Hine book Ch. 11 (Schneider & Foot: Web Sphere Analysis)
Hine book Ch. 12 (Park & Thelwall: The Network Approach to Web Hyperlink Research and its Utility for Science Communication).
Hine book Ch. 13 (Beaulieu: Sociable Hyperlinks).
Rogers, Richard. (2008). The Politics of Web Space. Unpublished manuscript. 15 pp. http://www.govcom.org/publications/full_list/rogers_politics_web_space_2008_pre.pdf
Some figures did not reproduce well in the Rogers manuscript above.
Here are higher-resolution versions:
Figure 1: Digital Divide Cartogram
Figure 2: Digital Divide Cartogram (Inverted)
Figure 10: Internet Governance Debates
Figure 11 (The Base of an Issue) is missing from the manuscript but it can be found on p. 16 of this other PDF
Today's Question: Identify a research question or topic of interest to you where it might be useful to apply a technique discussed in this week's readings from ch. 11, 12, 13, or the Rogers reading (e.g., link analysis, web sphere analysis, social network analysis, actor hyperlink language, etc.). Then, address the questions: If you went ahead with the project, what methodological problems or criticisms would you anticipate? Can the method be modified to address them?
Also discussed in class: Interactive/navigable visualizations as research products, online publication of research.
Tufte book Beautiful Evidence (read all of it -- except: the sculpture chapter is optional).
Manovich, Lev. (2008). Data Visualisation as New Abstraction and Anti-Sublime. In: Byron Hawk, David Reider, and Ollie Oviedo (eds.). Small Tech: The Culture of Digital Tools. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Preprint: http://www.manovich.net/DOCS/data_art_2.doc
Today's Question: Propose a new visualization that is relevant to your research interests and does not currently exist. If you like, you can adapt an example from the Tufte book. You don't have to draw the visualization but feel free to include a sketch or links to other examples. Please describe or argue for the value of your visualization using Tufte's concepts where they apply (information space, intellectual approach, design style, causality, multivariate analysis, integration, etc.).
||Visualization II / Spatial and Geographic Methods I
Also discussed in class: visual averaging, using Adobe Illustrator.
Guest speaker: Eric Gilbert
Kosara, Robert. (2008). Visualization Criticism - The Missing Link Between Information Visualization and Art. IEEE Computer Graphics & Applications (CG&A), Visualization Viewpoints, vol. 28, no. 3, pp. 13-15. http://kosara.net/papers/Kosara_IV_2007.pdf
Collins, Christopher, Carpendale, Sheelagh, & Penn, Gerald. (2007). Visualization of Uncertainty in Lattices to Support Decision-Making. Proceedings of the Eurographics/IEEE-VGTC Symposium on Visualization.
(Read at least the intro, images and discussion.)
Havre, Susan, Hetzler, Beth, & Novell, Lucy. (1999). ThemeRiver: In Search of Trends, Patterns, and Relationships.
(Read at least the intro, images and discussion.)
Wattenberg, Marc. (n.d.) Arc Diagrams: Visualizing Structure in Strings
(Read at least the intro, images and discussion.)
Collins, Christopher. (2007). DocuBurst: Visualizing Document Content Using Language Structure.
(Read at least the intro, images and discussion.)
See also: http://www.cs.utoronto.ca/~ccollins/research/docuburst/index.html
Garofalo, Reebee. (n.d.). Genealogy of Pop/Rock Music
(Look at print only.)
Paula Scher Paintings/Drawings
(Look around. Especially notice The Tsunami [painting #7 from the bottom menu].)
Jason Salavon's "The Loop" and "Every Playboy Centerfold"
(Look at both.)
Golan Levin's The Dumpster
(Please try out / mess around with this. Be sure to press "enter project" or use this direct link.)
Information Design Patterns
(Please try out / mess around with this.)
(Please try out / mess around with this.)
Today's Question: Please re-do the question from last week. This time, take into account our class discussion and the additional examples and ideas in the readings above.
||Spatial and Geographic Methods II
Also discussed in class: spatial heterogeneity/dependence, patterns and expectations, Tobler's First Law, spatializing uncertainty/probability.
Monmonier, Mark. (1996). How to Lie With Maps (2nd. ed.) Chicago: University of Chicago Press. (Read pp. 1-23 and pp. 139-162) On moodle.
Borges, Jorge Luis & Casares, Adolfo Bioy. (1946/1975). On Exactitude in Science. In: J. L. Borges, A Universal History of Infamy. (Norman Thomas de Giovanni, tr.) London: Penguin. On moodle.
de Smith, Michael; Goodchild, Michael F.; & Longley, Paul A. (2008). Geospatial Analysis: A Comprehensive Guide to Principles, Techniques, and Software Tools. (2nd ed.) Leicester: Matador Press. (various excerpts.) On moodle.
Parks, Lisa. (2003). "Satellite and Cyber Visualities: Analyzing the Digital Earth." In Visual Culture Reader 2.0, N. Mirzoeff (Eds). New York, NY: Routledge. [N.B.: I can't find the PDF of this reading. I am next in the office on Tuesday. I will scan this in again on Tuesday and post it. So sorry for the late posting. 11-7-08 --CS]
Hine book Ch. 8 (Dodge: The Role of Maps in Virtual Research Methods)
Strange Maps. http://strangemaps.wordpress.com/
Please read 40 strange maps of your choice from the 300+ entries on the Strange Maps blog.
MapTube: http://www.maptube.org/ (This is a Google Maps mash-up. Browse a few maps, try an overlay.)
World Mapper: http://www.worldmapper.org/ (This is a directory of equal area cartograms. Browse a few maps.)
Color Brewer: http://www.personal.psu.edu/cab38/ColorBrewer/ColorBrewer_intro.html
(Please click on one or two color combinations.)
Today's Question: Propose a new research design related to a problem you are interested in where the outcome is either a map or involves spatial analysis (see de Smith). You might specify how you might use a map or a visual analogy from cartography to visualize something that is not usually represented spatially (see "Strange Maps" or Dodge). Or if you can't think of anything like that, you could describe how you would map something spatial that is not usually mapped. Please be sure your design is related to an interesting question or problem.
||Internet Research II
Also discussed in class: Industrial Ethnography, Industry-related/sponsored research.
Beaulieu, Anne. (2004). Mediating Ethnography: Objectivity and the Making of Ethnographies of the Internet. Social Epistemology 18(2-3): 139-163. On moodle.
Hine book Ch. 5 (Sanders: Researching the Online Sex Work Community).
Hine book Ch. 10 (Guimarães: Doing Anthropology in Cyberspace).
Williams, Dmitri & Xiong, Li. (forthcoming). Herding Cats Online: Real Studies of Virtual Communities. From: E. Hargittai (ed.), Title TBA. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. On moodle.
Hine book Ch. 14 (Jankowski & van Selm: Methodological Concerns and Innovations in Internet Research).
Today's Question: Propose a new research design related to a problem you are interested in that employs one of the Internet methods mentioned this week. Please be sure your design is related to an interesting question or problem. (N.B.: Unlike the other methods we have discussed so far, ethnographic projects are not usually thought of as "designed." If you want to use ethnography or a mixed-methods project that includes it, you might need to discuss anticipated problems and benefits rather than propose an ethnographic "design" linked to a specific problem. Use your judgment.)
||(NO CLASS) THANKSGIVING
N.B.: This class may end 30-50 minutes earlier than usual.
Eison, James. (2002). Strategies That Improve Undergraduate Education. Tomorrow's Professor (449). (2 pp.) http://cgi.stanford.edu/~dept-ctl/cgi-bin/tomprof/posting.php?ID=449
anon. (1993). Active Learning. Speaking of Teaching 5 (1): 1-3. http://ctl.stanford.edu/Newsletter/active_learning.pdf
anon. (2004). Designing Courses. Speaking of Teaching 13 (2): 1-5. http://ctl.stanford.edu/Newsletter/designing_courses.pdf
anon. (n.d.). Small Group Exercises: Sample Formats. Stanford, California: Stanford University Center for Teaching and Learning. (2 pp.) http://ctl.stanford.edu/handouts/PDF/small_group_ex.pdf
Today's Question: Please choose an important concept related to methods from this course and design one way to teach this material to undergraduates. Your curricular material might be a course outline (NOT a complete syllabus!), a lesson plan, a lecture outline, a small group exercise, a homework assignment / problem set / or a writing assignment. The readings above may give you some ideas. (NOTE: If your chosen product is very brief, please also write about your thought process in designing it so that this blog post is a similar length to the others.)
(this is our scheduled final exam day)
Final Papers DUE
today by 2pm (please post .doc or .pdf to your blog)
Update: Deadline extended to Thursday, Dec 18 at 2pm.
Class meeting scheduled for today: 2-5pm
No readings are assigned for today. However, the following readings are optional.
Pencil, Murdock. (1976). Salt Passage Research: The State of the Art. Journal of Communication 26 (4): 31-36. On moodle.
Zongker, Doug. (2006). Chicken Chicken Chicken: Chicken Chicken. Annals of Improbable Research 12(5): 16-21. On moodle.
Ozaktas, Haldun M. (2005). The Optimal Number of Friends in the Information Age. Journal of Irreproducible Results 49(4): 32. On moodle.
Lytle, Wayne. (1993). Viz-O-Matic. Cornell University Theory Center. (VIDEO MIRROR.) http://www.imeem.com/hulksmaash/video/o6PyqMpK/vizomatic/
||Final Papers Due
Final Papers DUE today by 2pm (please post .doc or .pdf to your blog)