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Critical Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences

Project: 10
Name: Amelia Hoover Green, PhD (aah92@drexel.edu; 510.219.0270)
Department: Politics

Description

The Critical Quantitative Methods (CQM) project is part of a cooperative study between Amelia Hoover Green, at Drexel, and Laurel Eckhouse, at the University of Denver. Broadly, the goal of CQM is to investigate how, and how badly, quantitative social scientists get the wrong answers when they disregard insights from qualitative methods or theories. For example: What happens, in statistical terms, when quantitative studies analyze "off the shelf" data about violence against women, without considering insights from feminist theory that suggest violence and domination shape the creation of data about violence and domination? To take another example, qualitative researchers might ask how and when police violence against communities of color becomes known and recognized; the CQM project aims to bring these insights to bear on quantitative studies of policing and violence. During summer 2018, undergraduate researchers on the CQM project will support the development of a critical methods "curriculum" for quantitative researchers, particularly political scientists. In doing so, they will read broadly across the fields of data studies, the sociology of knowledge, qualitative methods, feminist theory, and critical race theory.

Associated Independent Study

Students who work on CQM will have the option of expanding their work into an article-length evaluation of one or more areas of research, which could serve as the basis of a three-credit independent study.

Gained Experience

Students will gain a clear understanding of the social and political forces that shape the creation of supposedly "neutral" data. They will hone their research skills, and have the opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge to some of the key social problems of the moment. Summer research assistants will have the opportunity to continue with the project, potentially including travel to a National Science Foundation-funded workshop at the University of Denver, in fall 2018.

Outcome

This summer's CQM project will support an NSF-funded workshop to be held at the University of Denver. The workshop is expected to lead to a special issue of a political science journal, and perhaps to specific recommendations to journal editors.

Tasks

Finding, summarizing, and analyzing scholarly research regarding 3-5 key questions of the CQM project. This will require extensive library research, including a particular facility/creativity with search terms, and the ability to quickly assess large amounts of literature from multiple disciplines.

Location

Summer researchers on this project can work from anywhere they have access to a university library. Ideally, the student worker would remain in Philadelphia for most of the summer in order to meet occasionally with me.

Meetings

Occasional meetings, perhaps once/week.

Interview Availability

April 10, April 11, April 12