In this episode, we talk with Justin Picket of SUNY-Albany about using web-based surveys for public opinion polling and experiments. He provides guidance, tips, and tricks for using services like Amazon Mechanical Turk.

“A lot of people have great ideas, and they just don’t have the resources to go out and go a longitudinal study. Giving people the tools to initially test their idea and get it out there can really benefit science….it opens the theorizing and the research to broader set.”
– Justin Pickett – 


On this episode of the Give Methods a Chance podcast , we are joined by Dr. Andrew Billings. Andrew is the Ronald Reagan Endowed Chair in Broadcasting in the College of Communication and Information Sciences at The University of Alabama. He has authored books on a range of topics including Fantasy Sport and coverage of the Olympic games.  His scholarship has also attracted interest outside academic walls from mainstream outlets ranging from the The Boston Globe to the Los Angeles Times to We talk to Andrew about his use of quantitative content analysis to study traditional and social media coverage of NBA player Jason Collins’ coming out as gay.

“One barrier, and this is certainly true with more and more social media, is that there is an incredible amount of, it is not really negativity, of course there is negativity out there…Coding for sarcasm can be really tricky. And that is the reason we can’t use, with most of the work I do, I can’t send it through a content analysis software program because inevitably it is going to code things differently than the way they come out.”
Andrew Billings – 

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-


In this episode we speak to Francesca Polletta. Francesca is a professor of sociology at the University of California Irvine. She is the author of It Was Like a Fever: Storytelling in Protest and Politics and Freedom Is an Endless Meeting: Democracy in American Social Movements. Francesca has also authored many peer-review articles on social movements, democracy, and culture. Francesca joins us to discuss coding stories from online forums as a way of studying public deliberation.

“We really struggled with figuring out how to be flexible enough to capture what people what people do when they are actually telling stories, which is not to hue strictly to the formal criteria of formal storytelling. While, at the same time, not losing what makes stories interesting, which is that we know when we hear a story in conversation.”
– Francesca Polletta –