Archive for the ‘Research’ Category


2010 U.S. Census

March 19, 2010

Posted by: Chad M. Gesser

Twitter: @profgesser


Haven’t you heard the talk on the street?  The word about the BIG event of 2010?  It‘s big man…it‘s really really big.

I received my Census survey in the mail today.  What?  You‘re not excited about the 2010 Census?

It certainly isn’t easy to get people excited about the decennial census, but it is in fact a very significant event each 10 years in the United States.  The data gathered from the U.S. Census Bureau becomes a treasure trove of information for sociologists, political scientists, economists, and anyone in the world seeking to know more about the demographics of the United States.

Social scientists look first to the Census Bureau when seeking answers on issues from education to population dynamics.  The Census and subsequent research reports released by the U.S. Census Bureau are arguably the single most important, consistent public research projects conducted in the world.

It’s estimated that the 2010 U.S. Census will cost $15 billiion. Why is the U.CS. ensus so important?

The United States government is required by law to conduct a periodic census.  It is written into the U.S. Constitution, with the first census administered in 1790.  Many see the census as fundamental to the democracy of the United States.

The data that is collected is private, but aggregations are used to assist the formation of public policy and the allocation of resources.  The aggregate data can be found on the U.S. Census Bureau’s website.

Take a quick look and listen to Sociologist Dr. Robert Groves, Director of the U.S. Census Bureau.  You can also visit the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau website for more information about the decennial census.


Polling, the Media, and Politics

January 8, 2010

Posted by: Chad M. Gesser

Twitter: @profgesser


As recent as 10 years ago, gaining access to quality information and data regarding a variety of social issues required at least a little bit of effort.

In the past decade we have seen an increasing availability of information and “news” through the transition of our media to a 24 hour news cycle.  Information is now available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, through a variety of platforms including cable television, the internet, and hand held devices.

While the amount of information available has both increased and has become abundantly available, the quality of the information can many times be suspect.

Given the bombardment of information, and certainly the thirst the American public has in being informed, one has to practice some basic tenets of research so as not to be misinformed by information saturation.

The Daily Show with John Stewart regularly picks apart the news to highlight the discrepancies often found.

Check out this clip where Stewart addresses polling by the major cable news networks: Poll Bearers.

No doubt Stewart makes a point.  How do Sociologists address the issues of validity and reliability?  Is there such a thing as “quality research”, “value free research”?  How do Sociologists strive to uphold the integrity of the research process?