Monthly Archives: October 2006

selection, strain, or opportunity in grad student cheating?

aside from a few notorious cases where the accused quickly left a program, i don’t hear much about cheating among sociology grad students.

a new self-report study finding high rates of cheating among business students is getting some press this week. business professor donald mccabe of rutgers, kenneth butterfield of washington state, and linda klebe trevino of pennsylvania state collected data from 5,331 graduate students at 32 colleges and universities in the united states and canada from 2002 to 2004. the researchers asked about 13 behaviors, including cheating on tests and exams, plagiarism, faking a bibliography or turning in someone else’s work.

here is the prevalence of cheating by area of study:

Percentage of graduate students who acknowledged cheating in the past year:
Business: 56%
Engineering: 54%
Physical sciences: 50%
Med students/health care: 49%
Education: 48%
Law: 45%
Arts: 43%
Humanities/social sciences: 39%

i haven’t seen the full study, but my guess is that the high prevalence rates are due to one or more common but less serious offenses. nevertheless, the study includes some good data on frequency and variety of cheating as well, which also seems to point the finger at business students.

the raw results raise some interesting questions. it is easy to formulate a selectivity hypothesis (e.g., business and law students are greedier), but there may also be more strain or competition in these fields (e.g., high-stakes exams and class ranks that matter) and, perhaps, more frequent opportunities to cheat (e.g., midterms and finals rather than seminar papers). is it selection, strain, or opportunity that places business students at the top of the list and social scientists at the bottom?

pub econ?

my friday talk was co-sponsored by a law school and a soc department. over the years, i’ve spoken in econ departments and crim departments and law schools and african american studies departments. it is always fun to see the different norms regarding length, interruptions, and so forth. in the soc series, the speakers are expected to talk for an hour and then take questions for thirty minutes. in the law series, in contrast, they are expected to speak for seven minutes before engaging in questions. this must have something to do with billable hours.

i spoke about public criminology (and, by extension, public sociology), using clifford shaw as an exemplar. many law professors have been doing pubcrim for years, particularly on the op/ed front, but one of the economists in attendance suggested that the idea of public economics would never get much momentum. i mumbled something about lester thurow and john r. commons, and, of course, steven levitt’s name came up. still, i think my questioner was probably right about the prospects for pub econ. is there a public aspect to other disciplines (e.g., pub polisci, pub anthro, pub psych, pub history, pub philosophy, pub geography, pub genetics), or is sociology somehow uniquely positioned to want or need a public moniker? if so, does this signal the relative weakness or the relative strength of sociology as a discipline?

selection, strain, or opportunity in grad student cheating?

aside from a few notorious cases where the accused quickly left a program, i don’t hear much about cheating among sociology grad students.

a new self-report study finding high rates of cheating among business students is getting some press this week. business professor donald mccabe of rutgers, kenneth butterfield of washington state, and linda klebe trevino of pennsylvania state collected data from 5,331 graduate students at 32 colleges and universities in the united states and canada from 2002 to 2004. the researchers asked about 13 behaviors, including cheating on tests and exams, plagiarism, faking a bibliography or turning in someone else’s work.

here is the prevalence of cheating by area of study:

Percentage of graduate students who acknowledged cheating in the past year:
Business: 56%
Engineering: 54%
Physical sciences: 50%
Med students/health care: 49%
Education: 48%
Law: 45%
Arts: 43%
Humanities/social sciences: 39%

i haven’t seen the full study, but my guess is that the high prevalence rates are due to one or more common but less serious offenses. nevertheless, the study includes some good data on frequency and variety of cheating as well, which also seems to point the finger at business students.

the raw results raise some interesting questions. it is easy to formulate a selectivity hypothesis (e.g., business and law students are greedier), but there may also be more strain or competition in these fields (e.g., high-stakes exams and class ranks that matter) and, perhaps, more frequent opportunities to cheat (e.g., midterms and finals rather than seminar papers). is it selection, strain, or opportunity that places business students at the top of the list and social scientists at the bottom?

pub econ?

my friday talk was co-sponsored by a law school and a soc department. over the years, i’ve spoken in econ departments and crim departments and law schools and african american studies departments. it is always fun to see the different norms regarding length, interruptions, and so forth. in the soc series, the speakers are expected to talk for an hour and then take questions for thirty minutes. in the law series, in contrast, they are expected to speak for seven minutes before engaging in questions. this must have something to do with billable hours.

i spoke about public criminology (and, by extension, public sociology), using clifford shaw as an exemplar. many law professors have been doing pubcrim for years, particularly on the op/ed front, but one of the economists in attendance suggested that the idea of public economics would never get much momentum. i mumbled something about lester thurow and john r. commons, and, of course, steven levitt’s name came up. still, i think my questioner was probably right about the prospects for pub econ. is there a public aspect to other disciplines (e.g., pub polisci, pub anthro, pub psych, pub history, pub philosophy, pub geography, pub genetics), or is sociology somehow uniquely positioned to want or need a public moniker? if so, does this signal the relative weakness or the relative strength of sociology as a discipline?

my librarian is better than your librarian

nancy herther, the minnversity’s fine sociology librarian, prepared this handy report comparing searches of sociological abstracts with those of criminal Justice abstracts.

for crim researchers, the upshot is that we might miss an important article if we only search criminal Justice abstracts. ms. herther gives a few examples from the journal criminology to show potential gaps in cja coverage.

here’s her accompanying note:

I had mentioned some time ago about the work that I did a year ago – first comparing journals lists, etc. – between Sociological Abstracts and Criminal Justice Abstracts. In general they are both wonderful databases, however I always felt somewhat “twitchy” about CJA, so I pursued it by looking at specific issue by issue coverage and prepared a brief report of what I found – and my recommendations for secondary research – which is attached. CJA is a wonderful database, but at an advanced level, I’d strongly encourage faculty and students to use both SA and CJA to guarantee comprehensiveness. I’d hate to have anyone miss something significant.

my librarian is better than your librarian

nancy herther, the minnversity’s fine sociology librarian, prepared this handy report comparing searches of sociological abstracts with those of criminal Justice abstracts.

for crim researchers, the upshot is that we might miss an important article if we only search criminal Justice abstracts. ms. herther gives a few examples from the journal criminology to show potential gaps in cja coverage.

here’s her accompanying note:

I had mentioned some time ago about the work that I did a year ago – first comparing journals lists, etc. – between Sociological Abstracts and Criminal Justice Abstracts. In general they are both wonderful databases, however I always felt somewhat “twitchy” about CJA, so I pursued it by looking at specific issue by issue coverage and prepared a brief report of what I found – and my recommendations for secondary research – which is attached. CJA is a wonderful database, but at an advanced level, I’d strongly encourage faculty and students to use both SA and CJA to guarantee comprehensiveness. I’d hate to have anyone miss something significant.

estimates of glb individuals from the american communities survey

in teaching about sexual norms and practices, i’m struck by how little information we have about some of the basic social facts. a new study by gary gates at ucla’s sexual orientation law institute brings some new data to bear on the subject. based on analysis of the census bureau’s 2005 american community survey, it appears that the number of self-identifying same-sex couples rose dramatically from 2000 to 2005.

the study reports that the number of same-sex couples in the U.S. grew by more than 30 percent from 2000 to 2005, from about 600,000 couples in 2000 to almost 777,000 in 2005. this likely signals a major shift in willingness to report the nature of the relationship rather than a major shift in actual relationships. given the magnitude of the change, i’ll need a bit more assurance that the imperfect indicators are at least consistently measured at the two data points. if measurement artifacts aren’t a huge problem, the shift likely indicates that the stigma associated with same-sex partnering is rapidly diminishing.

the report offers some intriguing estimates on the spatial distribution of sexual preference. minnesota is among the top ten states in the estimated percentage of gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals in the adult population at 4.7 percent. i figured that urban d.c. would be have a high percentage of same sex couples, but i’m not sure why new hampshire and washington are ranked so high. is willingness to report higher in these states? (and, does affluence or racial homogeneity have something to do with willingness to report?). or, are there simply lots of same-sex couples in washington and new hampshire?

Rank and Estimated % of gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals in the adult population
1 District of Columbia 8.1%
2 New Hampshire 6.6%
3 Washington 5.7%
4 Massachusetts 5.7%
5 Maine 5.2%
6 California 5.2%
7 Colorado 5.1%
8 Vermont 5.1%
9 New Mexico 4.9%
10 Minnesota 4.7%

both new hampshire and minnesota had high rates of growth in same-sex couples, though these numbers are a little misleading because the 2000 base rates were rather low in most midwestern states:

Rank and % Increase in Same-sex couples, 2000 to 2005
1 New Hampshire 106%
2 Wisconsin 81%
3 Minnesota 76%
4 Nebraska 71%
5 Kansas 68%
6 Ohio 62%
7 Colorado 58%
8 Iowa 58%
9 Missouri 56%
10 Indiana 54%

finally, the twin cities ranks high among metro areas (5.7%). at 12.5%, minneapolis ranks behind only san francisco (15.4%) and seattle (12.9%) in the estimated percentage of gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals.

estimated % of gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals in metro and largest city
1 San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont 8.2% 15.4%
2 Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue 6.5% 12.9%
3 Boston-Cambridge-Quincy 6.2% 12.3%
4 Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton 6.1% 8.8%
5 Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater 5.9% 6.1%
6 Austin-Round Rock 5.9% 4.8%
7 Denver-Aurora 5.8% 8.2%
8 Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington 5.7% 12.5%
9 Orlando-Kissimmee 5.7% 7.7%
10 Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford 5.6% 6.8%

looking at these descriptive statistics, i can’t help but note the high ranking of some of the nation’s most attractive places: san francisco, seattle, minneapolis, boston, and portland are the top five cities on the list. it ain’t exactly sodom and gomorrah, right?

do the fervent critics of same-sex marriage actually sound the alarm that their burg could “become just like new hampshire?” or warn, “look what happened to portland!” based on these data, i know where i’d be happiest living and raising my kids: in places where there are many same-sex couples and, just as importantly, where there is little or no stigma attached to sexual preference.

estimates of glb individuals from the american communities survey

in teaching about sexual norms and practices, i’m struck by how little information we have about some of the basic social facts. a new study by gary gates at ucla’s sexual orientation law institute brings some new data to bear on the subject. based on analysis of the census bureau’s 2005 american community survey, it appears that the number of self-identifying same-sex couples rose dramatically from 2000 to 2005.

the study reports that the number of same-sex couples in the U.S. grew by more than 30 percent from 2000 to 2005, from about 600,000 couples in 2000 to almost 777,000 in 2005. this likely signals a major shift in willingness to report the nature of the relationship rather than a major shift in actual relationships. given the magnitude of the change, i’ll need a bit more assurance that the imperfect indicators are at least consistently measured at the two data points. if measurement artifacts aren’t a huge problem, the shift likely indicates that the stigma associated with same-sex partnering is rapidly diminishing.

the report offers some intriguing estimates on the spatial distribution of sexual preference. minnesota is among the top ten states in the estimated percentage of gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals in the adult population at 4.7 percent. i figured that urban d.c. would be have a high percentage of same sex couples, but i’m not sure why new hampshire and washington are ranked so high. is willingness to report higher in these states? (and, does affluence or racial homogeneity have something to do with willingness to report?). or, are there simply lots of same-sex couples in washington and new hampshire?

Rank and Estimated % of gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals in the adult population
1 District of Columbia 8.1%
2 New Hampshire 6.6%
3 Washington 5.7%
4 Massachusetts 5.7%
5 Maine 5.2%
6 California 5.2%
7 Colorado 5.1%
8 Vermont 5.1%
9 New Mexico 4.9%
10 Minnesota 4.7%

both new hampshire and minnesota had high rates of growth in same-sex couples, though these numbers are a little misleading because the 2000 base rates were rather low in most midwestern states:

Rank and % Increase in Same-sex couples, 2000 to 2005
1 New Hampshire 106%
2 Wisconsin 81%
3 Minnesota 76%
4 Nebraska 71%
5 Kansas 68%
6 Ohio 62%
7 Colorado 58%
8 Iowa 58%
9 Missouri 56%
10 Indiana 54%

finally, the twin cities ranks high among metro areas (5.7%). at 12.5%, minneapolis ranks behind only san francisco (15.4%) and seattle (12.9%) in the estimated percentage of gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals.

estimated % of gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals in metro and largest city
1 San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont 8.2% 15.4%
2 Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue 6.5% 12.9%
3 Boston-Cambridge-Quincy 6.2% 12.3%
4 Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton 6.1% 8.8%
5 Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater 5.9% 6.1%
6 Austin-Round Rock 5.9% 4.8%
7 Denver-Aurora 5.8% 8.2%
8 Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington 5.7% 12.5%
9 Orlando-Kissimmee 5.7% 7.7%
10 Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford 5.6% 6.8%

looking at these descriptive statistics, i can’t help but note the high ranking of some of the nation’s most attractive places: san francisco, seattle, minneapolis, boston, and portland are the top five cities on the list. it ain’t exactly sodom and gomorrah, right?

do the fervent critics of same-sex marriage actually sound the alarm that their burg could “become just like new hampshire?” or warn, “look what happened to portland!” based on these data, i know where i’d be happiest living and raising my kids: in places where there are many same-sex couples and, just as importantly, where there is little or no stigma attached to sexual preference.

wouldn’t the moral entrepreneurs make a nice name for a band?

i generally reserve howard becker’s term moral entrepreneurs for full-on self-righteous crusading reformers such as prohibitionists. yet one needn’t look far to find mellower unplugged and acoustic versions of the concept.

chris riemenschneider, the strib’s fine music writer, offers a front-page story this morning on environmentally friendly concert tours. performers such as gomez, the dave matthews band, pearl jam, jack johnson, bonnie raitt, and even the entire warped tour (!) have gone at least a little bit green.

cloud cult singer craig minowaare and others try to model environmentally friendly lifestyles without “sounding like some preachy folk singer.” what behaviors are they modeling?

* Using biodiesel tour bus.
* Buying renewable-energy “credits” to offset fuel emissions.
* Using soy-based ink and recycled paper in merchandise.
* Selling organic cotton T-shirts.
* Serving organic food backstage.
* Minimizing bus idling.
* Staying at hotels identified as eco-friendly.

as gusfield pointed out, status politics are at play when uppers tell lowers how they should live. but bands such as gomez aren’t really cultural elites (yet) nor are they too wealthy to feel the extra cost of their green livin’. so all this seems quite socially responsible to me, though i wonder how ol’ keith moon would have fared in such a band. maybe he’d personalize the practices:

* Driving biodiesel tour bus into holiday inn swimming pool.
* Smashing corn-plastic drum kits.
* Detonating biodegradable explosives.
* Recycling endless stream of Courvoisier bottles.
* Dressing in organic cotton vicar’s, clown, and santa claus costumes.
* Heating room with detritus of smashed televisions, chairs, dressers, beds, and cupboards.

i wouldn’t count mr. moon as a moral (or immoral?) entrepreneur, but he certainly qualified as a professional discoverer of wrongs to be righted, of situations requiring new rules.

wouldn’t the moral entrepreneurs make a nice name for a band?

i generally reserve howard becker’s term moral entrepreneurs for full-on self-righteous crusading reformers such as prohibitionists. yet one needn’t look far to find mellower unplugged and acoustic versions of the concept.

chris riemenschneider, the strib’s fine music writer, offers a front-page story this morning on environmentally friendly concert tours. performers such as gomez, the dave matthews band, pearl jam, jack johnson, bonnie raitt, and even the entire warped tour (!) have gone at least a little bit green.

cloud cult singer craig minowaare and others try to model environmentally friendly lifestyles without “sounding like some preachy folk singer.” what behaviors are they modeling?

* Using biodiesel tour bus.
* Buying renewable-energy “credits” to offset fuel emissions.
* Using soy-based ink and recycled paper in merchandise.
* Selling organic cotton T-shirts.
* Serving organic food backstage.
* Minimizing bus idling.
* Staying at hotels identified as eco-friendly.

as gusfield pointed out, status politics are at play when uppers tell lowers how they should live. but bands such as gomez aren’t really cultural elites (yet) nor are they too wealthy to feel the extra cost of their green livin’. so all this seems quite socially responsible to me, though i wonder how ol’ keith moon would have fared in such a band. maybe he’d personalize the practices:

* Driving biodiesel tour bus into holiday inn swimming pool.
* Smashing corn-plastic drum kits.
* Detonating biodegradable explosives.
* Recycling endless stream of Courvoisier bottles.
* Dressing in organic cotton vicar’s, clown, and santa claus costumes.
* Heating room with detritus of smashed televisions, chairs, dressers, beds, and cupboards.

i wouldn’t count mr. moon as a moral (or immoral?) entrepreneur, but he certainly qualified as a professional discoverer of wrongs to be righted, of situations requiring new rules.