We are pleased no announce the next visit of Prof. Stanley Presser. It will be April 24th at 12.30 at the Institute for Advanced Social Studies, where this Distinguished Professor of the University of Maryland will give a Seminar titled Data Collection versus Data Construction: How Methodological Factors Shape the Conclusions Drawn from Sample Surveys.

As Prof. Presser postulates, “although social scientists routinely talk about data collection, data are not collected, they are constructed.  As a result, data have no meaning independent of the methods used to construct them”.  He develops this argument and provide two examples showing its usefulness for the interpretation of well-known puzzles:  The first example -from Putnam’s Bowling Alone– concerns the increase over time in survey estimates of volunteering in the United States, which is counter to the declines shown by other measures of social capital; The second example -from the sociology of religion- concerns the surprising stability of survey measures of church attendance in the United States during a time when secularization has gained force.


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