mixed methods

In this episode, we talk with Vincent Roscigno, sociologist at The Ohio State University, about using multiple methods to research historical inequality. Using the case of the Sioux Massacre at Wounded Knee, he ultimately answers empirical and theoretical questions about how powerful state actors justify inequality. Using archives, correspondence, and qualitative and quantitative analyses, Vinnie and his research team found that officials of the Office of Indian Affairs and federal politicians amplified ethnocentric and threat frames, using the Sioux Ghost Dance as central to this argument. Force against the Sioux was consequently portrayed as justifiable, which increased the likelihood of the massacre. This unique project sheds light on the value in using multiple approaches to answer a sociological question.

“I engage in quantitative work. I engage in qualitative work. But, increasingly my work has taken on a multimethod flavor. I feel more confident when I can pull off this blending of methods… I think in some ways, questions of validity are what pushed me to become more of a multimethod researcher. I think that various types of qualitative approaches [to supplement quantitative analyses] can both give us confidence in the validity of the variables we tend to choose, as well as bolster our confidence in the interpretation of what that relationship is… For me, this type of sociology is poignant. It’s powerful. It puts a human face on some of the processes we talk about in the abstract.
– Vincent Roscigno – 

Helen B. Marrow is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Tufts University, with affiliations in American Studies, Latino Studies, Latin American Studies and the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy. Helen’s research interests include immigration, race and ethnicity, social class, health,and inequality and social policy. She is the author of New Destination Dreaming: Immigration, Race, and Legal Status in the Rural American South and has published in journals including the American Sociological Review, Ethnic and Racial Studies, and Perspectives on Politics. Today we discuss her tripartite methodological design for studying immigrant/native relations as well as her experience conducting collaborative, interdisciplinary research. For more information, visit the project website.


“One of the things we have learned, and we have incorporated into our survey and interview data, is that a lot of the fierce debates about whether more contact between groups reduces prejudice and produces positive outcomes or whether it leads to greater feelings of threat and more negative outcomes, has to do with the fact that the different disciplines are operationalizing and measuring contact differently. Psychologists think about contact as direct, face-to-face contact. But often in sociology and political science, we are thinking about contact at a broader and more macro level.”
– Helen B. Marrow –

In this episode we are joined by Matthew Hughey. Matthew is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Connecticut. He is the author of number books including the White Savior Film: Content, Critics and Consumption, The Wrongs of the Right: Language, Race, and the Republican Party in the Age of Obama, and White Bound: Nationalists, Antiracists, and the Shared Meanings of Race. Matt joins us to discuss his multi-methods approach to studying film, film criticism, and film consumption.

“I’m a methodologically promiscuous sociologist, so I dabble with different methodologies depending what types of questions I ask.  So for example, If I wanted to know something about the ways that audience members develop, nurture, and deconstruct—in their everyday lived experiences—a film genre such as this, it would call for a kind of ethnographic strategy in which I would need to embed myself with a community of avid film goers.  That type of immersion would be necessary to gain a sociologically informed view of what really figure out the relationship between people lived experiences and their cinematic evaluations.  But since I was interested in a different question—notably, what kinds of demographic and interactive setting influenced how audiences make meaning of just a handful of these films, then interviews and comparisons between focus groups fit the bill for my question.”
– Matthew W. Hughey –

In this episode, we talk with Naomi Sugie on using smartphones to collect data from research participants. Naomi is an Assistant Professor of Law, Criminology & Society at the University of California-Irvine. She shares findings from a study of recently released prisoners as they seek for work in Newark, New Jersey.

“Smartphones are exciting data collection tools. They can collect real time data on peoples’ experiences while they are going about their every day lives. Smartphones have their limitations, but they open up a whole new area of research and the ability to just document peoples experiences. They can expand the realm of empirical investigation for researchers to consider questions and ideas we just weren’t able to think about before, using other methods.”
– Naomi Sugie-