Archive by Author

Why People Talk About Dukes of Hazard, Not The Charleston Massacre

A few weeks ago, Antar and Bill posted personal and thoughtful blogs about the Charleston Massacre and, more broadly, the repeated and targeted violence perpetrated against Black people in the United States. Antar asked “scholars to do some soul searching.” Bill wondered if he could do more. Since the tragedy, I’ve been thinking a lot […]

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Alice Goffman, Ethics, and Advising

A few years ago, as a graduate student at USC, I visited the American Sociological Association’s website. A name grabbed my attention. “Goffman,” I thought, “She can’t be related to the Goffman.” Alice Goffman, as it turns out, is the daughter of renowned sociologist Erving Goffman. I hurried to Google. She received her Ph.D. from […]

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Using Qualitative Research to Contest Stereotypes

How are black men portrayed? After Freddie Gray’s death due to the brutality of six Baltimore police officers, newscasts focused on Gray’s criminal record and suspect behavior. When city residents protested, the media became more interested. Reporters searched for provocative stories and trolled for increased viewership. They showed dehumanizing videos of wild mobs looting and […]

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Indiana, Duke, Yik Yak, and the purpose of Education

The news has been full of lamentable examples of bigotry and discrimination. The governor of Indiana signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, legislation that permits businesses to discriminate on the basis of religion—a restaurant, for instance, could refuse service to a gay couple. The politician posed the law as a moral argument; and yet, any […]

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So You Want to be a Qualitative Researcher in the 21st Century

A tension exists between old and new. In The Anxiety of Influence, Harold Bloom explains the generational process among writers: Old poets inspire young poets. The apprentice learns to love form by reading the work of a skilled master. The beginner writes derivative verse. Anxiety stirs as she realizes the only way to establish a […]

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Tom Hanks Loves #FreeCommunityCollege and So Do I

Is it possible for Tom Hanks to be any more lovable? Apparently, yes. Last week, the actor who made such endearing classics as “Big,” “The ‘Burbs,” and “Turner & Hooch” published an editorial about his time at Chabot Community College. After discussing his experiences, he concluded, “That place made me what I am today.” Hanks […]

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Ferguson, Ethics, and the Public Intellectual

During the 1890s, newspaper publishers Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst competed against each other to sell more papers. They printed sensationalist stories accompanied with fear-inducing headlines and vivid, provocative pictures. Journalists eschewed facts for melodrama. At the height of yellow journalism, the two newspaper tycoons published stories that contributed to the United States’ involvement […]

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Friends, Lovers, and Social Media Experimentation: The Need for New Ethical Guidelines

This summer, Facebook released findings from a controversial study. I blogged about my concerns. Less than a month later, OKCupid’s co-founder publicized his own company’s unethical experiments. What timing. The last six months, in fact, have been filled with troubling examples of data misuse and security leaks—think about it: Facebook, OKCupid, Heartbleed, Bash, and the […]

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Facebook Doesn’t Care About Ethics, So Why Should You?

The internet nearly broke when researchers published a new study, “Experimental Evidence of Massive-scale Emotional Contagion through Social Networks.” Scientists, conducting a psychological experiment including approximately 700,000 Facebook users, manipulated news feeds to examine the effects of positive and negative posts. Researchers found that Facebook posts influence users’ moods; the general public and research community […]

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Stats, Stories, and Policy Design

In my last post, I mentioned Illinois’ new testing plan, which sets different testing standards based on student demographics including race and class. The policy oozes the flawed logic that has defined the accountability era: Statistics—and experimental and quasi-experimental studies, in particular—represent the gold standard of educational research. Before you either tune me in or […]

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