Blog Archives

COSSA Welcome the University of Arizona

COSSA is pleased to welcome the University of Arizona as its newest member. Located in Tucson, the University of Arizona receives nearly $9 million in federal social and behavioral science funding annually. COSSA’s full membership list is available here. Information on how to join can be found on the COSSA website.

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Posted in Issue 22 (November 13), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

Carol Dweck Receives the 2018 SAGE-CASBS Award

On October 23, SAGE Publishing and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) at Stanford University, a COSSA member, announced that Carol Dweck of Stanford University is the recipient of the 2018 SAGE-CASBS Award. The SAGE-CASBS Award recognizes outstanding achievement in the behavioral and social sciences that advance our understanding of pressing social issues. Dweck has previously held posts at Columbia University, Harvard University, and the University of Illinois and is most associated with launching a body of research collectively showing that individuals possess implicit theories of intelligence that reside on a continuum from “fixed mindset” to “growth mindset” – now widely-used concepts that Dweck defined and clarified. Dweck will deliver a public lecture in March 2019 at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.

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Posted in Issue 21 (October 30), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

SSRC’s Alondra Nelson Answers “Why Social Science?”

why-social-scienceThe latest Why Social Science? guest post comes from Alondra Nelson, President of the Social Science Research Council, who highlights SSRC’s recently published report, To Secure Knowledge: Social Science Partnerships for the Common Good. Read it here and subscribe.

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Posted in Issue 19 (October 2), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

Social Science Research Council Issues Final “To Secure Knowledge” Report

The Social Science Research Council (a COSSA member) convened the To Secure Knowledge task force in 2017 to consider optimal conditions for social science in this moment, including the infrastructure of social research, standards of inquiry, and the role of rigorous understanding in public affairs. The task force released its final report at a livestreamed event on September 17. The report includes recommendations and describes how present and future scholarship can be secured through partnerships between the academy, government, philanthropy, and the private sector.

The report’s key recommendations include:

  • New funding partnerships should be created to facilitate coordination between government, the private sector, the academy, and philanthropy.
  • Cross-sector data experiments, such as the Social Data Initiative, should be encouraged.
  • New approaches to secure data and make it safely available to researchers should be developed, while standardizing and improving best practices for data use.

More information about the Social Science Research Council, the To Secure Knowledge task force, and the full report can be found on the SSRC website.

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Posted in Issue 18 (September 18), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

CJRA and COSSA to Host “Ask a Criminologist” Panel on How the Opioid Epidemic and Police-Community Relations Impact Homicides

COSSA and the Crime & Justice Research Alliance (CJRA) (a collaborative effort of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences and the American Society of Criminology, both COSSA members) will host the third in a series of “Ask a Criminologist” Congressional briefings on Tuesday, May 22. This interactive briefing will explore key factors, including the opioid epidemic, that led to an increase in homicide rates in communities across the United States in 2015 and 2016 and share how criminologists have been using research and statistics to help policymakers identify and address these causes. The discussion will be moderated by CJRA Past Chair Dr. Nancy La Vigne of the Urban Institute, and featured speakers will include Dr. Howard Spivak, Deputy Director of the National Institute of Justice; Richard Biehl, Chief of Police for the City of Dayton, Ohio; and Dr. Shytierra Gaston, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at Indiana University.  More information and a link to RSVP can be found here.

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Posted in Issue 10 (May 15), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

PAA Congressional Briefing Explores Factors Affecting Life Expectancy

On April 9, the Population Association of America (PAA), a COSSA governing member, hosted a Congressional briefing entitled Grave Consequences: Why Some Americans Are No Longer Living Longer on the decline of average life expectancy among some groups in the United States. COSSA was a co-sponsor of the event.

Andrew Fenelon, researcher at the University of Maryland, spoke about the regional divergence in adult mortality. The Central South has a higher mortality rate than the rest of the country and has gotten worse over time, while the East Coast has shown significant improvements. Shannon Mannat, researcher at Syracuse University, presented on the significant increase in “deaths of despair,” which are deaths caused by drug overdose or suicide. However, she emphasized that we must focus on underlying factors that lead to opioid abuse, including economic insecurity and isolation from family and communities. The final panelist was John Haaga, Director of the Division of Behavioral and Social Research at the National Institute on Aging (NIA), who presented NIA research initiatives related to life expectancy, including behavioral and social research projects.

All the panelists acknowledged that improving Americans’ health must be a collaborative effort that includes reducing economic insecurity, fighting the opioid epidemic, improving community connectedness, and increased social science research. Andrew Fenelon stated, “Any policy, even if not directly related to health, is going to have health implications.”

This article was contributed by COSSA’s spring intern, Dakota Leonard of Arizona State University.

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Posted in Issue 8 (April 17), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

AERA & AAPSS Briefing Focuses on Inequality and Public Education

The American Academy of Political and Social Science (AAPSS) and the American Educational Research Association (AERA), both COSSA members organizations, hosted a Congressional briefing on March 22 entitled, In the Age of Inequality, Does Public Schooling Make a Difference? The event discussed the effects of public schooling since the “Coleman Report” of 1966, a groundbreaking and controversial study that found schools have little influence on inequality in America, and instead students’ growth is determined by their socioeconomic status and race. AAPSS and AERA welcomed four panelists who discussed their research on public schooling’s influence on the opportunities of underserved youth. AERA Executive Director Felice Levine introduced the event’s four panelists, many of whom were featured in the November 2017 volume of AAPSS’s scholarly periodical The ANNALS, a special issue focused on “The State of Unequal Educational Opportunity.”

The first panelist was Heather Hill, a researcher at the University of Michigan, who stated that providing data on school-readiness in communities helps provide a metric to measure whether public schools influence student growth. The second panelist, Stanford University researcher Sean Reardon, concluded that schools can influence student growth, but measuring that influence is complex. He presented a study that showed that while a national average of third graders in low-income communities have significantly lower test scores than wealthier students, some states such as Tennessee have successfully implemented strategies that have equalized opportunities across the board. This is evidence that students’ grades can be influenced by regional public school systems because other states, such as Florida, show a decrease in student grades from third to eighth grade.

Brown University researcher Susan Moffitt presented on the importance of early education programs and economic assistance for families. Schools have a more positive effect on students when partnering with programs such as Head Start, nurse-family partnerships, and income support such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The final panelist, Prudence L. Carter of the University of California, Berkeley, focused on discrimination at the individual school level as well as the national level. She stated there are unequal outcomes for African American students even in “so-called good schools.”  African American students have limited access to honors programs and are more likely to be suspended or expelled compared to their peers. Carter stated that it is important for us to recognize that this is a result of systemic racism, and societal and policy inequalities need to be radically improved to prevent further inequalities in schools.

This article was contributed by COSSA’s spring intern, Dakota Leonard of Arizona State University.

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Posted in Issue 7 (April 3), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

American Academy of Arts and Sciences Issues Perceptions of Science in America Report

On February 12, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a COSSA member, issued a new report assessing the current state of public trust for science in the U.S. Perceptions of Science in America is the first report to be issued as part of the Academy’s ‘Public Face of Science project, a three-year activity that looks to better understand and explain the complex relationship between the scientific community and the public.

Drawing from existing public opinion survey data sources, including government and non-governmental surveys, the report identifies three main takeaways about the state of science among public audiences: (1) confidence in scientific leaders has remained relatively stable over the last 30 years; (2) confidence in science varies based on age, race, educational attainment, region, political ideology, and other characteristics; and (3) there is no single anti-science population, but more research is needed to understand what drives skepticism about specific scientific issues.

Check out the Academy’s website for details.

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Posted in Issue 4 (February 20), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

Catch Up on COSSA’s Advocacy Twitter Chat with MPSA

On January 23, COSSA co-hosted a Twitter chat with the Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA), a COSSA governing member, that shared tips for social scientists who would like to become more involved in advocacy. You can read a recap of the conversation here.

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Posted in Issue 3 (February 6), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

ASA Launches New “Count on Stats” Initiative

The American Statistical Association (ASA), a COSSA governing member, has launched a new initiative called Count on Stats to “enhance awareness about the importance, reliability, and trustworthiness of government data” and defend the federal statistical system against political attacks. ASA’s partners in the initiative include COSSA governing members the American Association for Public Opinion Research, the American Educational Research Association, and the American Sociological Association. More information about the program is available on ASA’s website.

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Posted in Issue 3 (February 6), Update, Volume 37 (2018)

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