Level/Unit of Analysis, Levels of Measurement, and Frequencies
6. How is “LEADGRP” coded and what is the level of measurement? Explain why it is this level of measurement.
LEADGRP is coded as whether “R (Respondent) has ever served as an officer in a group”. The level of measurement is nominal. The survey was qualitative and there were only two nominal variables “YES” or “NO”.
7. What does the frequency of those who have served as group officers in 1987 reveal about what Putnam calls “active participation?” What happens it the next decade, according to Putnam? What evidence does he provide for this?
The frequency shows that 46 percent of the respondents had served as officers in groups. This confirms Putnam’s claim that active participation in social activities was higher in 1978 than during present days. Putnam claims that in the decade after 1978 the active participation of people in social activities declined. He uses the survey to show that the leadership positions people take in groups and active participation has declined.
Selected Study: General Social Surveys, 1972-2004 [Cumulative File]
1. According to Margaret Talbot in The New York Times review, what was the major criticism of the “Bowling Alone” thesis? Do you think Putnam addresses this criticism in his book? Why or why not?
According to Talbot, other scholars and social scientists criticized Putnam’s findings claiming that the social and civic life of Americans had not declined but had faced reinvention and more Americans were now involved in civic life. Putnam was able to address this criticism in his book. He quotes a survey that affirms the fact that the number of Americans in civil action groups had kept steady for the past years. He however states that group members were however less actively involved than before. He lays as evidence the low number of meetings that members attended and the leadership positions held by surveyed members.
2. In The American Prospect review, what is Gary Wills’ major objection to Putnam’s thesis?
Gary Will objects to Putnam’s thesis, he says that the social activities of Americans have not declined. He says that what Putnam sees as decline is the development of new avenues through which Americans can socialize. Coffee clubs and professional associations have replaced conventional groupings such as shriners and PTA clubs he claims. He says that what Putman sees as retrogressive has is an improvement in social capital. He cites the internet and says that contrary to Putnam’s views it had enhanced social interaction in the modern world.
3. How is Will’s objection similar and/or different from the major criticism discussed in Talbot’s review?
Will’s objection is quite similar to the major criticism identified in Talbot’s review. The previous critics cited a reinvention in social behavior. This position is quite similar to Will’s assertion that the ways through which American’s meet and interact have changed compared to past years.
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