methodology

Mechanical Turk and Experiments in the Social Sciences

Mechanical Turk and Experiments in the Social Sciences

by on 2013-07-23- 3 Comments

Amazon created a platform called Mechanical Turk that allows Requesters to create small tasks (Human Intelligence Tasks or HITs) that Workers can perform for an extremely modest fee such as 25 or 50 cents per task.* Because the site can be used to collect survey data, it has become a boon for social scientists interested in an experimental design to test causal mechanisms of interest (see Adam Berinsky's short description here). The advantage of Mechanical Turk is the cost. For a fraction of the expense it costs to field a survey with Knowledge Networks/GfK, Qualtrics, or other survey companies, one can field a survey with an experimental component. Combined with other low-cost survey design platforms like SurveyGizmo, a graduate student or faculty member without a huge research budget might be able to collect data for a couple of hundred dollars (or less) instead of several thousand. But, storm clouds loom: in recent weeks, critics like Andrew Gelman and Dan Kahan have weighed in and warned that Mechanical Turk's problems make it an inappropriate tool, particularly for politically contentious topics. Are these criticisms fair? Should Mechanical Turk be off limits to scholars?

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Call for Participants: Interpretive and Relational Research Methodologies

by on 2013-06-24- Leave a reply

“Interpretive and Relational Research Methodologies”
A One-Day Graduate Student Workshop
Sponsored by the International Studies Association-Northeast Region
9 November, 2013 • Providence, Rhode Island

International Studies has always been interdisciplinary, with scholars drawing on a variety of qualitative and quantitative techniques of data collection and data analysis as they seek to produce knowledge about global politics. Recent debates about epistemology and ontology have advanced the methodological openness of the field, albeit mainly at a meta-theoretical level. And while interest in techniques falling outside of well-established comparative and statistical modes of inference has been sparked, opportunities for scholars to discuss and flesh out the operational requirements of these alternative routes to knowledge remain relatively infrequent.

This ninth annual workshop aims to address this lacuna, bringing together faculty and graduate students in a pedagogical environment. The workshop will focus broadly on research approaches that differ in various ways from statistical and comparative methodologies: interpretive methodologies, which highlight the grounding of analysis in actors’ lived experiences and thus produce knowledge phenomenologically and hermeneutically; holistic case studies and forms of process-tracing that do not reduce to the measurement of intervening variables; and relational methodologies, which concentrate on how social networks and intersubjective discursive processes concatenate to generate outcomes.

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Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Methodological Tools: Social-Network Analysis Alert

by on 2012-09-09- Leave a reply

Is the society depicted in this film historically accurate? Let's perform a social-network analysis!  Here's a helpful hint: the "realism" of social networks in the
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Terrorism and Terrorists: Political, Analytical, and Methodological Issues

by on 2012-09-02- 21 Comments

Some commentators have suggested posts that pose questions to our readers. I think that the discussion on Peter Henne's piece, "A Modest Defense of Terrorism Studies,"
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Field Reports

by on 2012-08-08- Leave a reply

I spent last week doing "field research" - that is, participant-observation in one of the several communities of practice whose work I'm following as part
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No More Cups of Tea: Terrorism Research and the Law

by on 2012-08-01- Leave a reply

This is a guest post from Tanisha Fazal, a professor of political science at Columbia University, and Jessica Martini, a human rights and international trade
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The Fallacy of Own-Termism

by on 2012-06-13- Leave a reply

A standard critical argument in my field looks something like this:1. Phenomenon X involves A assumptions about the world;2. Approach Y contains assumptions inconsistent with A; therefore3. Y
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The Trouble with Combining, or Why I’m Not Touting the Global Peace Index

by on 2012-06-12- Leave a reply

 The Institute for Economics and Peace is making a big splash today with the release of the 2012 edition of its annual Global Peace Index
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What’s So ‘Institutional’ @ Historical Institutionalism?

by on 2012-04-25- Leave a reply

NOTE: The following was actually written before Dan Nexon posted a good piece on exactly the same essay. I’m not sure if that coincidence means
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Winceoff vs. Nexon Cage Match!

by on 2012-04-13- 23 Comments

Kindred Winecoff has a pretty sweet rebuttal to my ill-tempered rant of late March. A lot of it makes sense, and I appreciate reading graduate
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Labels and tribes

by on 2012-02-19- Leave a reply

In the Matrix, it's trivial to specify the underlyingdata-generating process. It involves kung fu. Given PTJ's post, I wanted to clarify two points from my original
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Experiments, Social Science, and Politics

by on 2012-02-19- Leave a reply

[This post was written by PTJ]One of the slightly disconcerting experiences from my week in Vienna teaching an intensive philosophy of science course for the
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Challenges to Qualitative Research in the Age Of Big Data

by on 2012-02-17- Leave a reply

Technically, "because I didn't have observational data."Working with experimental data requires onlycalculating means and reading a table. Also, thismay be the most condescending comic stripabout statistics
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$h•! PTJ Says #3: protest banners vs. precise terms

by on 2012-01-21- Leave a reply

 I am going to try writing down pieces of advice that I give to students all the time, in the hopes that they might be
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Knowing and the Known

by on 2011-10-16- Leave a reply

Although the majority of the offerings in the European Consortium on Political Research's inaugural Winter School in Methods and Techniques (to be held in Cyprus
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New Statistics on Civilian Targeting

by on 2011-09-15- Leave a reply

In a new paper, Michael Spagat and a number of collaborators explore the determinants of intentional civilian killing in war. Using sophisticated regression analysis they
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$h•! PTJ Says #2: on the difference between assumptions and conclusions

by on 2011-09-09- 6 Comments

I am going to try writing down pieces of advice that I give to students all the time, in the hopes that they might be
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Semantic polling: the next foreign policy tool

by on 2011-08-26- Leave a reply

George Gallup - what have you started?
The traditional methods for a state to know what overseas publics are thinking are changing. Instead of relying
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Crunching Drone Death Numbers

by on 2011-08-18- Leave a reply

The Monkey Cage has published a detailed guest post by Christine Fair on the drone casualty debate. Fair takes leading drone-casualty-counters (Bergen and Tiedeman's New
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$h•! PTJ Says #1: justifying your theory and methodology

by on 2011-08-17- Leave a reply

I am going to try writing down pieces of advice that I give to students all the time, in the hopes that they might be
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