A group of sociologists recently revisited the controversial 1965 Moynihan Report. Your students can read about it in the Fall 2009 Contexts feature “The Moynihan Report, A Retrospective” by Kate Ledger. Below are some questions and an activity you can use in the classroom.
1) The Moynihan Report is available online at http://www.dol.gov/oasam/programs/history/webid-meynihan.htm. Read the introduction and describe how it compares with the image you had after reading the Contexts article. Which analysis do you find more compelling and/or enlightening?
2) According to this article, a number of sociologists think Moynihan would have had different ideas about black families had he studied class instead of race. Why would this be true?
3) When the Moynihan Report was leaked to the press 45 years ago, there was an outcry and social science about family, race, and inequality started to happen “under the radar.” How can the media help or hinder social science research?
Activity: Use www.eurekalert.com or a comparable source to find a press release on a social scientific study that sounds interesting. Read the press release and the original article (your school’s library website will help you find the original) and compare them. Does the press release do the article justice? What parts of the original research seem overlooked? Do any seem overhyped?