Seven Keys to Help You Avoid Errors and Reach Defensible Conclusions
(Day I & 2)
#1: Interpret Effects in the Context of Models
Individual-level Example: Relative and absolute effects
Firebaugh and Laura Tach, “Income and Happiness in the United
States,” unpublished manuscript.
Macro-level Example: Does industrialization no longer benefit poor
Arrighi, Beverly J. Silver, and Benjamin D. Brewer. 2003. “Industrial
Convergence, Globalization, and the Persistence of the North-South
divide.” Studies in Comparative International Development
Firebaugh. 2004. “Does Industrialization No Longer Benefit Poor
Countries? A Comment on Arrighi, Silver, and Brewer, 2003.”
Studies in Comparative International Development 39: 99-105.
# 2. Consider all sources of error, not just sampling error
# 3. To control for confounding factors in observational studies, try
to supplement “control by regression” with techniques
that mimic the effects of random assignment.
J., S. Augustyniak, and G. Duncan. 1985. "Panel data and Models
of Change: A Comparison of First Difference and Conventional Two-Wave
Models." Social Science Research 14:80-101.
Guo, Leah K. VanWey. 1999. “Sibship Size and Intellectual
Development: Is the Relationship Causal?” American
Sociological Review (April 1999),
Phillips. 1999. “Sibship Size and Academic Achievement: What
We Now Know and What We Still Need to Know.” American
Sociological Review (April
1999), 64: 188-192.
B. Downey, Brian Powell, Lala Carr Steelman and Shana Pribesh. 1999.
“Much Ado About Siblings: Change Models, Sibship Size, and
Intellectual Development: Comments on Guang Guo & VanWey.”
American Sociological Review (April
1999), 64: 193-198.
Guo, Leah K. VanWey. 1999. “The Effect of Closely Spaced and
Widely Spaced Sibship Size on Intellectual Development: Reply to
Phillips and to Downey et al.” American Sociological Review
(April 1999), 64: 199-206.