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Seven rules for social research

Author: Glenn Firebaugh
Publisher: Princeton : Princeton University Press, ©2008.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
'Seven Rules for Social Research' teaches social scientists how to get the most out of their technical skills and tools, providing a resource that fully describes the strategies and concepts no researcher or student of human behaviour can do without.

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Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Firebaugh, Glenn.
Seven rules for social research.
Princeton : Princeton University Press, ©2008
Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Glenn Firebaugh
ISBN: 9780691125466 0691125465 9780691135670 0691135673
OCLC Number: 144330644
Description: xiii, 257 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Contents: Chapter 1: The first rule. There should be the possibility of surprise in social research. Selecting a research question --
Researchable questions --
Interesting questions --
Selecting a sample --
Samples in qualitative studies --
Is meaningful social research possible? --
Summary --
Student exercises on Rule 1 --
Chapter 2: The second rule. Look for differences that make a difference, and report them. You can't explain a variable with a constant --
Maximizing variance to find the effect of a cause --
Size versus statistical significance --
Comparing effects where there is a common metric --
Calibration: converting explanatory variables to a common metric --
Substantive profiling: the use of telling comparisons --
Visual presentation of results --
Policy importance --
Importance for theory --
Conclusion --
Student exercises on Rule 2 --
Chapter 3: The third rule. Build reality checks into your research. Internal reality checks --
Reality checks on data-dubious values and incomplete data --
Reality checks on measures-aim for consistency in conceptualization and measurement --
Reality checks on models-the formal equivalence check --
External reality checks: validation with other data and methods --
Using causal-process observations to test plausibility of results --
Using ethnographic data to help interpret survey results --
Other examples of multiple-method research --
Concluding remark --
Student exercises on Rule 3 --
Chapter 4: The fourth rule. Replicate where possible. Sources of uncertainty in social research --
Overview: from population to sample and back to population --
Measurement error as a source of uncertainty --
Illustration: two methods for estimating global poverty --
Toward a solution: identical analyses of parallel data sets --
Meta-analysis: synthesizing results formally across studies --
Summary: your confidence intervals are too narrow --
Student exercises on Rule 4 --
Chapter 5: The fifth rule. Compare like with like. Correlation and causality. Types of strategies for comparing like with like --
Matching versus looking for differences --
The standard regression method for comparing like with like --
Critique of the standard linear regression strategy --
Comparing like with like through fixed-effects methods --
First-difference models: subtracting out the effects of confounding variables --
Special case: growth-rate models --
Sibling models --
Comparing like with like through matching on measured variables --
Exact matching --
Propensity-score method --
Matching as a preprocessing strategy for reducing model dependence --
Comparing like with like through naturally occurring random assignment --
Instrumental variables: matching through partial random assignment --
Matching through naturally occurring random assignment to the treatment group --
Comparison of strategies for comparing like with like --
Conclusion --
Student exercises on Rule 5 --
Chapter 6: The sixth rule. Use panel data to study individual change and repeated cross-section data to study social change. Analytic differences between panel and repeated cross-section data --
Three general questions about change --
Changing-effect models, Part 1: two points in time --
Changing-effect models, Part 2: multilevel models with time as the context --
What we want to know --
The general multilevel model --
Convergence models --
The sign test for convergence --
Convergence model versus changing-effect model --
Bridging individual and social change: estimating cohort replacement effects --
An accounting scheme for social change --
Linear decomposition method --
Summary --
Student exercises on Rule 6 --
Chapter 7: The seventh rule. Let method be the servant, not the master. Obsession with regression --
Naturally occurring ramdom assignment, again --
Decomposition work in the social sciences --
Decomposition of variance and inequality --
Decomposition of segregation indexes --
The effects of social context --
Context effects as objects of study --
Context effects as nuisance --
Critical tests in social research --
Conclusion --
Student exercises on Rule 7.
Responsibility: Glenn Firebaugh.
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Suitable for students and those who want to take their technical skills for instructors who want a text for second methods course, this title teaches social scientists how to get out of their  Read more...


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"Firebaugh has produced a lively and insightful contribution. He discusses thought-provoking examples and has created some truly excellent and innovative end-of-chapter exercises. Firebaugh maintains Read more...

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