Center for Social Research

February 13, 2007 Lecture by Kevin Bales, President of Free the Slaves

The president of Free the Slaves and professor of sociology at Roehampton University will be giving a talk on his book, “Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy,” and the disturbing reality of modern slavery.  As an expert in the field of modern slavery, Bales has presented his scholarly work at many venues.  In 2000, Bales worked to produce the documentary, “Slavery: A Global Investigation,” which has won several awards, including the Peabody Award in 2000 and two Emmy Awards in 2002.  For more information on Bales’ work, please visit Free the Slaves and come to the Commons Lecture Hall on Tuesday, February 13, 2007 from 3:30 PM to 5:00 PM.

Posted by Nate Medeiros-Ward on Tuesday, February 13, 2007 at 05:04 PM
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Methods:  Survey Experiments and Resilience

Some meaty methodological advice on experimentation in surveys is found in the Winter 2007 issue of Political Analysis (the journal of the Methodology Section of the American Political Science Association). In “The Logic of the Survey Experiment Reexamined,” authors Gaines, Kuklinski and Quirk (2006, pages 1-20) offer an overview of the power of survey experiments to identify causal relationships, along with a bundle of caveats scholars should keep in mind when designing, conducting and interpreting survey experiments. (The article is available to the Calvin community through the publisher’s web site).

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Posted by Neil Carlson on Friday, January 12, 2007 at 09:37 AM
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Correlates of Congregational Growth, 2000-2005:  Vitality, Purpose, Drums, and Irreverent Joy

What has distinguished growing American congregations from their stagnant and dwindling cousins? Some tentative answers are found in a new report from Faith Communities Today:  a growing, youthful demographic setting, a multiethnic constituency, a “vital,” contemporary worship style, and a purposeful organizational disposition to grow and change. Drums and “joyful” worship often went with growth; worship described as “reverent,” unfortunately, did not often accompany numeric growth in weekly attendance (see pages 9 and 10 of the report).

Whether these recent trends are worthy of emulation is a theological and social matter the current report does not address directly. But scholars and laypeople of all stripes may find evidence to inform their perspectives. The report, covering many faiths and denominations, is based on nationwide data collected in 2005 by the Calvin College Center for Social Research.

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Posted by Neil Carlson on Tuesday, December 19, 2006 at 12:20 PM
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Follow the Money: Mapping Campaign Contributions

What:   Social Science Division Symposium
When:   Tuesday, November 14 @ 3:30PM
Where:   DeVos Communication Center room 170
Who:   All social science faculty, with other faculty and students welcome.
     
Speaker:   Neil Carlson, Assistant Director of the Center for Social Research
Topic:   Following the money: mapping flows of campaign contributions.

The figure below draws on 2004 data including presidential campaigns, mapping interstate flows for 48 states. Most Republican funds propagated indirectly through Washington DC, which is not mapped in this case, though such mapping is feasible. The map was produced by Waldo Tobler's Flow Mapper tool.

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Posted by Neil Carlson on Monday, October 30, 2006 at 09:08 AM
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Studying urban sprawl from space

Discover magazine led me to a great find, a new satellite imagery study of urban sprawl in the US by a University of Toronto team led by economist Matthew Turner. The study surprisingly finds less sprawl than expected overall, but major differences among metropolitan areas. Miami is compact, Pittsburgh sprawls. Inter-city differences are explained by differences in “ground water availability, temperate climate, rugged terrain, decentralized employment, early public transport infrastructure, uncertainty about metropolitan growth, and unincorporated land in the urban fringe.” See the working paper or get a copy of the published version from the Quarterly Journal of Economics on the IDEAS site (the download did not work for me, but the citation and abstract are complete).

Posted by Neil Carlson on Thursday, September 14, 2006 at 10:04 AM
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