Sociology Quantitative Methods in Sociological Research
by
Erin Leahey
  • LAST REVIEWED: 09 September 2014
  • LAST MODIFIED: 27 July 2011
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756384-0044

Introduction

Sociology develops, adopts, and adapts a wide variety of methods for understanding the social world. Realizing that this embarrassment of riches can bewilder the newcomer, this entry is intended to guide scholars through some of the main methods used by quantitative social scientists and some of the key resources for learning such methods. Because many sociologists in the United States receive foundational training in multivariate linear regression, this entry focuses on developments that go beyond this topic, including categorical data analysis, structural equation modeling, multilevel modeling, longitudinal data analysis, causal inference, and even network analysis. The recent wave of interest in mixed methods also merits inclusion. A section on critical reflections aims to encourage researchers to be reflective and thoughtful about the approach(es) they choose.

Professional Associations

A number of professional associations are open to quantitative methodologists and researchers, including the two ASAs (American Sociological Association and American Statistical Association), the Population Association of American (PAA), for demographers broadly defined, and the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) for survey researchers and methodologists.

  • American Association of Public Opinion Research (AAPOR).

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    Founded in 1947, AAPOR is an association of individuals who share an interest in survey research, qualitative and quantitative research methods, and public opinion data. Members come from academia, media, government, the nonprofit sector, and private industry. Meetings are held in even-numbered years.

  • American Sociological Association (ASA).

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    The national professional association for sociologists, ASA serves as a reference for professional, ethical, and pedagogical topics; sponsors nine journals; and hosts an annual meeting.

  • American Statistical Association (ASA).

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    ASA is the world’s largest community of statisticians and the second-oldest professional society in the United States. For 170 years, ASA has supported excellence in the development and dissemination of statistical science. Its members serve in industry, government, and academia, advancing research and promoting sound statistical practice to inform public policy and improve human welfare.

  • Population Association of America (PAA).

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    PAA is a nonprofit organization that promotes research on population issues such as fertility, migration, health, and mortality. PAA sponsors the journal Demography.

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