Friday, August 25, 2017

Case Study Research

Trying something new, here...

What I'm reading, today:

Bent Flyvbjerg, "Five Misunderstandings About Case-Study Research," Qualitative Inquiry, vol. 12, no. 2, April 2006, pp. 219-245.

https://arxiv.org/pdf/1304.1186.pdf

Why am I reading this? 

I'm editing my paper for the Annual APSA meeting coming up, and having a hard time interpreting my results, and making grand claims about what we've found, despite all the hard work that went into what we have so far. Its been frustrating, but is mostly due to the fact that I have a hard time finding purely descriptive analysis, based on a single case study, interesting. This paper I am reading is reminding me that case studies are valuable... next I need to read something about the value of purely descriptive research. (PS that paper looks at around 900k tweets from the general election, and compares positive and negative sentiment in tweets that mention Clinton to tweets that mention Sanders and Trump, as well as a comparison of policy language in those tweets, and popular hashtags. Findings are mixed, but overall, the social media environment was worse for Clinton; however negative Trump sentiment was really high). 

What did I learn? 

Five misunderstandings about case studies and their revisions:

1. General, context independent knowledge is more valuable than context dependent knowledge. 

1a. Predictive theories and universals cannot be found in the study of human affairs. Concrete, context-dependent knowledge is therefore more valuable than the vain search for predictive theories and universals.

2. Generalizability is not possible. 

-‘[M]ore discoveries have arisen from intense observation than from statistics applied to large groups.’ (Bevenridge 1951). 
-That knowledge cannot be formally generalized does not mean that in cannot enter into the collective process of knowledge accumulation--it may help cut out a path toward future innovation. 

2a. One can often generalize on the basis of a single case, and the case study may be central to scientific development via generalization as supplement or alternative to other methods. But formal generalization is overvalued as a source of scientific development, whereas ‘the force of example’ is underestimated.

3. Cannon test hypotheses or build theory with case studies. 

"When the objective is to achieve the greatest possible amount of information on a given problem or phenomenon, a representative case or a random sample may not be the most appropriate strategy. This is because the typical or average case is often not the richest in information. Atypical or extreme cases often reveal more information because they activate more actors and more basic mechanisms in the situation studied. In addition, from both an understanding-oriented and an action-oriented perspective, it is often more important to clarify the deeper causes behind a given problem and its consequences than to describe the symptoms of the problem and how frequently they occur. Random samples emphasizing representativeness will seldom be able to produce this kind of insight; it is more appropriate to select some few cases chosen for their validity" (13). 

3a. The case study is useful for both generating and testing of hypotheses but is not limited to these research activities alone.

4. Case studies are more prone to subjectivity bias

4a. The case study contains no greater bias toward verification of the researcher’s preconceived notions than other methods of inquiry. On the contrary, experience indicates that the case study contains a greater bias toward falsification of preconceived notions than toward verification.

5. Summarizing case studies into theories is difficult. 
-Not if you allow for the open endedness of the question "‘What is this case a case of?’

5a. It is correct that summarizing case studies is often difficult, especially as concerns case process. It is less correct as regards case outcomes. The problems in summarizing case studies, however, are due more often to the properties of the reality studied than to the case study as a research method. Often it is not desirable to summarize and generalize case studies. Good studies should be read as narratives in their entirety.




Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Inauguration and Fivethirtyeight.com

For the inauguration I was able to be a part of the fivethirtyeight.com liveblog! I am working on a story for them right now, although we were definitely slowed down by the inauguration and what as been a nonstop news cycle since Trump took office. The story is actually on executive orders, so its pretty relevant. hopefully it gets posted.

But below are the posts I was able to contribute to the liveblog. I know it seems stupid to save my contributions when the link is here for all eternity. But for those who know me well, they know I have been a Nate Silver superfan for years, and think that 538 does excellent reporting and journalism.  So to be associated with them, if only for 1 event, means/meant a lot, and was a major thrill for me! So here are some of the semi-smart things I contributed to the liveblog :)














Saturday, December 31, 2016

Geena Davis

A few weeks ago I was able to meet Geena Davis at the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media holiday party! I have been working on a cool project for the Institute, thanks to Dr. Caroline Heldman, who has a permanent position with the organization. We are doing some exciting stuff--analyzing films for content to assess the state of the industry on variables previously ignored. I'll update here when we go public with our data.


Saturday, October 29, 2016

Disneyland Trick or Treating

Last week, my cousin was in town with her husband and three kids, so we decided to check out the Halloween parties at Legoland, and Disneyland. We had done the Disneyland party before, and despite the fact that I hate Disney, and their sexist as shit movies, their Halloween party at the park is pretty amazing and I left with about 5 lbs of candy. Here are a few pics from our fun weekend!




Saturday, April 16, 2016

West Wing best scenes

While there are a select few out there who don't agree, The West Wing, which ran from 1999-2006 on NBC, is one of the better shows about politics and government, ever produced. As an undergrad at Whittier College one of my professors felt so strongly about this that he actually assigned the show as homework; this was before streaming services, so I vividly remember getting an exam question wrong that asked about "Leo McGarry" (I didn't do the "homework"). To this day I still think it was unfair for my professor to assign a TV show as required viewing. But years later I was given the boxset, and finally watched the show in its entirety. I have now watched all 7 seasons at least 3 times, and a few episodes more than others.

For this post I select what I think are the 10 best scenes from its 7 season run. Some of the scenes I select for their humor, and others for their savvy use of political science theories, or recognition of my field. Beware, SPOILERS ABOUND.

10.  S2 E19 Bad Moon Rising
In this scene, White House counsel, Oliver Babbish played by guest star Oliver Platt, complains about a broken recorder of his that won't turn off. In the next scene President Bartlet comes into Babbish's office to admit he has been concealing his relapsing remitting MS. Realizing this, Babbish picks up his oversized gavel and violently smashes the recorder.
WHY WE LIKE IT: Hilarious!



9. S2 E13 Barlet's Third State of the Union
In this scene, Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman discusses the results of a poll the White House put in the field. Here, pollster Joey Lucas describes what could be response bias, given the way the question was asked, or interpreted, to explain that the numbers aren't always right.
WHY WE LIKE IT: RESPONSE BIAS! in action.



8. S2 E26 In This White House
In this memorable scene Deputy Communications Director Sam Seaborn confidently approaches his counterpart Ansley Hayes for a debate on the fictious DC news program Capital Beat (think "Crossfire"). Both the host and Sam assume Ansley was sent to be an empty skirt, until she handily takes Seaborn down, when he incorrectly identifies Kirkwood as in California.
WHY WE LIKE IT: Score one for the matriarchy 



7. S2 E3 The Midterms
Here, President Barlet stops by the Radio Broadcaster event at the White House, and takes down a talk show radio host for her selective interpretation of the Bible. This scene is key to the series' story arc about President Barlet's religiosity.
WHY WE LIKE IT: Presidential leadership is more than brute strength and military might. 



6. S6 E18 La Palabra
Here, Congressman Matt Santos, who is running for president at Josh Lyman's urging, explains why he's willing to take out a second mortgage on his home in order to run in the presidential primary in his home state of Texas.
WHY WE LIKE IT: Identity politics in (subtle) action



5. S2 E2 In the Shadow of Two Gunman Part II
After being shot, Josh Lyman is experiencing PTSD. At Leo's urging, Josh sees a psychiatrist. Afterwards, Leo explains why he was so persistent in getting Josh help with this excellent story about a guy in a hole.
WHY WE LIKE IT: Sentimentality  




4. S7 E2 The Mommy Problem
In the presidential campaign to elect Bartlet's successor, Josh explains the 'Mommy Problem' to Congressman Santos, which is the theory that in times of crisis the public wants a father; when the public is concerned most about domestic issues the public wants a mommy. This reflects the idea of issue ownership, and agenda setting, which makes my political science heart sing!
WHY WE LIKE IT: Political science agenda setting manipulation

Unfortunately I can't find this video clip but here is the quote:

Josh: People think the campaign's about two competing answers to the same question. They're not. They're a fight over the question itself.

Josh: When voters want a national daddy...someone to be tough and strong and defend the country, they vote Republican. When they want a mommy, someone to give them jobs, health care...the policy equivalent of matzoh ball soup, they vote Democratic.

3. S2 E 22 Two Cathedrals 
In another display of President Bartlet's struggle with his faith, this scene shows Barlet cursing God after his longtime assistant and friend, Doris Landingham, died in a car accident.
WHY WE LIKE IT: Internal conflict


2. S1 E2 Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc
In this scene, Communications Director CJ Cregg explains that comments made by then candidate Barlet offended residents of Texas, and thus assumes that these comments are why they lost Texas. To which President Bartlet responds "Post Hoc Ergo Proper Hoc... Do you know when we lost Texas?" And CJ coyly responds, "When you learned to speak latin?" Bartlet: "Go figure."
WHY WE LIKE IT: POLITICAL METHODOLOGY: Correlation versus Causation. 



...and the unofficial greatest scene of The West Wing...

1. S3 E16 Dead Irish Writers
In this unforgettable display of political cunning, President Bartlet fools everyone, including his staff, into thinking he accidentally insults the Republican presidential nominee with a perfect gun metaphor, on local television in the swing state of Pennsylvania. Of Robert Richie President Barlet says, "I think we might be talking about a .22 caliber mind in a .357 magnum world."
WHY WE LIKE IT: Regional politics and message framing






Thursday, November 26, 2015

Before I forget... Basketball shoes

I cant quite remember why, but I loved watching the NBA when I was a kid. Its not like my dad was a big fan, nor was my older brother. And growing up in Idaho meant I didn't have a local team for whom to cheer. But I was a fanatic. I would never miss Ahmad Rashad and Hannah Storm on NBA Inside Stuff. Inside Stuff also had a magazine, and I was a subscriber--I read each issue cover to cover, several times, and would tear out articles and pictures to put up in my locker, or in the front of my binder, to broadcast my fandom. Plus, each magazine would include a poster, and so my bedroom walls were covered in blown up pictures of Grant Hill, Reggie Miller, Stephon Marbury, Allen Iverson, and Kobe Bryant.



As I got older, I tuned into the show less, but was still crazy about the NBA. And I also turned out to be pretty good at basketball. I grew up across the street from a kid, Chase, who also played basketball, and he and I would play one-on-one, bump, and just shoot around, several times a week. Playing against him, consistently, is probably one of the reasons I turned out to be pretty good at basketball. Side note, his dad was a girls basketball coach--I played varsity at Meridian High, but Chase's dad coached varsity at Centennial High. Centennial was really good at basketball for decades, but my junior and senior year Meridian was the best in the league, so I always found it kind of funny that Meridian was good those years, in part, because I was good, and I was good because of the Centennial High coach's son.

Because I was pretty crazy about the NBA, I would also select my own jersey number based on my favorite player if it was available, and also I would wear the shoes of my favorite players, if I could convince my parents to spend that much money on basketball shoes.

And I've decided to reminisce about basketball shoes because there is this semi new song on the radio, White Iverson by Post Malone which got me thinking back to my own basketball days. In "White Iverson" he sings about basketball in general, but mostly Allen Iverson. He sings

I got me some braids and I got me some hoes (Iverson wore corn rows)
Started rockin' the sleeve, I can't ball with no Joes(Iverson wore the long sleeve over his elbow)
You know how I do it, Concords on my toes(Apparently, in college at Georgetown Iverson wore Concords--he didn't have a shoe deal yet)
....
I'm the new 3 and I change out to my new 3s(Iverson wore the number three, and his shoes were called the I3s)

Allen Iverson was one of my favorite players, and between 1998-2001 I owned three pairs of Iversons "The Question"--in yellow, metallic blue, and red. The song "White Iverson" is Post Malone referring to himself as the White Iverson (THANKS RAP GENUIS!).

My first NBA obsession was Detroit Piston, Grant Hill. In 7th grade I played AAU league basketball and wore the #33. I also had the Grant Hill Fila shoes, but I cant find any pictures of me in the shoes, unfortunately. It was 1996, and they were hideous.

1996 Fila, Grant Hill

in 8th and 9th grade my new favorite player was rookie Kobe Bryant. He took Brandy to Prom, and then went straight to the NBA! What a badass! I'll never forget taking my first pair of Kobe's out of the box. They were called the Crazy 8, after Kobe's first jersey number with the Lakers, no. 8.
The Kobe's, 1997
I wore the Kobe's my 8th grade year and also my freshman year, when I was on Meridian High's Freshman "A" team. Im not sure why, but I wore the number 50 for the next two years.
They made us wear mouth guards. But no one made me wear those socks.
My Sophomore year I was obsessed with Antoine Walker for reasons I cant recall. It was 1998 and he was in his second season with the Boston Celtics. He also had a contract with Adidas. I wore these shoes my sophomore year, when I played on Meridian High's JV basketball team.

Antoine Walker's Adidas


My junior year I made the varsity team and went pretty crazy with my shoe selection. I had the red Adidas Super Stars (I guess I really liked Adidas), but also the Iverson's in Yellow and Red. I remember my Red Iverson's were stolen and I was so so upset. Fortunately I still had the Red Superstars and Yellow Iverson's. Also, I got the number 33 back! but had stopped wearing the Grant Hill shoes--just the number.


The Question, in red


My yellow Iversons
We went into the State Championships that season with an 18-1 record. But finished 4th in the state that year; we lost the consolation game to Boise High.

My senior year I stuck with the Iverson's, but this time I went with Blue to match MHS's blue and gold colors.



my metallic blue Iversons (the internet says its "pearlized navy")
We went to the state tournament with a 14-6 record, and finished 4th again; we lost the consolation game this time to Madison High.

I had a pretty solid selection of shoes in the late 1990s and wanted to be sure to remember it all, before I forget.




Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A wedding, beaches, and bird watching

Last month, 2 of my best friends got married!!! I actually introduced them, though I'll be honest and say I wasn't necessarily trying to set them up. But once I saw they were interested in each other, it made sense. The wedding was beautiful, and I got to be one of her bridesmaids. The bridesmaids all had different dresses, but they were all black and floral. The groomsmen all had different floral ties. Every detail was perfect. Here are some pics from the day.



Then last weekend I went to Pismo with my Huntington Beach friends. At Pismo you can drive out and camp directly on the sand, so that is what we did. Kyle and I did dinner one of the nights--we grilled basil tomato cheese sandwiches. Not to toot my own horn, but they were friggin good. Kyle is a birdwatcher, and so we spent a little bit of time walking the beaches identifying shore birds, but then more time in Santa Barbara at a bird reserve. it was so cool. And I was able to hang in Santa B, even just for a day. I hadn't been back since my graduation in 2010.