free kittens or social measurement ideas

I was reviewing something yesterday that had a sentence of the form “Recent work, however, indicates that… (Smith 1997).” About which my first thought was, “That’s not recent.” And my second thought was, “Well, this paper is in a slow-moving specialty area, so maybe that does count as recent.” I wonder if somebody handy with text scraping could take instances of “recent work”, “recent study”, “recent paper”, etc., and the accompanying citation date and use it as a measure of how quickly different areas or fields develop.

Author: jeremy

I am the Ethel and John Lindgren Professor of Sociology and a Faculty Fellow in the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University.

6 thoughts on “free kittens or social measurement ideas”

  1. I’ll bet the publication dates associated with “recent” correlate negatively with the age of the writer, and that this is a stronger predictor than anything else. 1997 seems pretty recent to me. If it also correlates with the specialty area, I predict that will be an artifact of the age of the area and, thus, of the people in the area.

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  2. I thought that this post would include pictures of cute kittens in need of a home. I’m not sure that this paper idea is as much fun as a cute kitten.

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  3. I thought of this post yesterday, and OW’s comment, when I got an email from a student at a different university who cited my work and wanted to share their paper with me. I nearly choked on my water when I got to the line that called my research – from 2006 – “dated,” pointing to my now 10 year old data.

    I understand that some subfields and social phenomena move quickly, but I don’t consider the findings all that time-sensitive. It was amazing to me to think that what I find so recent (the beginning of my career, when I don’t even have tenure yet) is considered too old by someone else to be taken all that seriously.

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