7,342 research outputs found

    Why critical realism fails to justify critical social research

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    Many social scientists have argued that research should be designed to perform a ‘critical’ function, in the sense of challenging the socio-political status quo. However, very often, the relationship between the political value judgements underpinning this commitment and the values intrinsic to inquiry, as a distinct form of activity has been left obscure. Furthermore, the validity of those judgements has usually been treated either as obvious or as a matter of personal commitment. But there is an influential tradition of work that claims to derive evaluative and prescriptive conclusions about current society directly from factual investigation of its history and character. In the nineteenth century, Hegel and Marx were distinctive in treating the force of ethical and political ideals as stemming from the process of social development itself, rather than as coming from a separate realm, in the manner of Kant. Of course, the weaknesses of teleological meta-narratives of this kind soon came to be widely recognised, and ‘critical’ researchers rarely appeal to them explicitly today. It is therefore of some significance that, under the banner of critical realism, Bhaskar and others have put forward arguments that are designed to serve a similar function, while avoiding the problems associated with teleological justification. The claim is that it is possible to derive negative evaluations of actions and institutions, along with prescriptions for change, solely from the premise that these promote false ideas, or that they frustrate the meeting of needs. In this article I assess these arguments, but conclude that they fail to provide effective support for a 'critical' sociology

    Asymptotic Expansions for lambda_d of the Dimer and Monomer-Dimer Problems

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    In the past few years we have derived asymptotic expansions for lambda_d of the dimer problem and lambda_d(p) of the monomer-dimer problem. The many expansions so far computed are collected herein. We shine a light on results in two dimensions inspired by the work of M. E. Fisher. Much of the work reported here was joint with Shmuel Friedland.Comment: 4 page

    Can We Re-Use Qualitative Data Via Secondary Analysis? Notes on Some Terminological and Substantive Issues

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    The potential gains and practical problems associated with secondary analysis of qualitative data have received increasing attention in recent years. The discussions display conflicting attitudes, some commentators emphasising the difficulties while others emphasise the benefits. In a few recent contributions the distinctiveness of re-using data has come to be questioned, on the grounds that the problems identified with it of data not fitting the research questions, and of relevant contextual knowledge being absent are by no means limited to secondary analysis. There has also been a more fundamental claim: to the effect that these problems are much less severe once we recognise that all data are constituted and re-constituted within the research process. In this article I examine these arguments, concluding that while they have much to commend them, they do not dissolve the problems of 'fit' and 'context'.Re-Use of Qualitative Data, Secondary Analysis, Qualitative Data Archiving, Constructionism

    An Asymptotic Expansion and Recursive Inequalities for the Monomer-Dimer Problem

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    Let (lambda_d)(p) be the p monomer-dimer entropy on the d-dimensional integer lattice Z^d, where p in [0,1] is the dimer density. We give upper and lower bounds for (lambda_d)(p) in terms of expressions involving (lambda_(d-1))(q). The upper bound is based on a conjecture claiming that the p monomer-dimer entropy of an infinite subset of Z^d is bounded above by (lambda_d)(p). We compute the first three terms in the formal asymptotic expansion of (lambda_d)(p) in powers of 1/d. We prove that the lower asymptotic matching conjecture is satisfied for (lambda_d)(p).Comment: 15 pages, much more about d=1,2,

    Exact asymptotics of monomer-dimer model on rectangular semi-infinite lattices

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    By using the asymptotic theory of Pemantle and Wilson, exact asymptotic expansions of the free energy of the monomer-dimer model on rectangular n×n \times \infty lattices in terms of dimer density are obtained for small values of nn, at both high and low dimer density limits. In the high dimer density limit, the theoretical results confirm the dependence of the free energy on the parity of nn, a result obtained previously by computational methods. In the low dimer density limit, the free energy on a cylinder n×n \times \infty lattice strip has exactly the same first nn terms in the series expansion as that of infinite ×\infty \times \infty lattice.Comment: 9 pages, 6 table

    How to measure mood in nutrition research

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    © 2014 The Authors. Mood is widely assessed in nutrition research, usually with rating scales. A core assumption is that positive mood reinforces ingestion, so it is important to measure mood well. Four relevant theoretical issues are reviewed: (i) the distinction between protracted and transient mood; (ii) the distinction between mood and emotion; (iii) the phenomenology of mood as an unstable tint to consciousness rather than a distinct state of consciousness; (iv) moods can be caused by social and cognitive processes as well as physiological ones. Consequently, mood is difficult to measure and mood rating is easily influenced by non-nutritive aspects of feeding, the psychological, social and physical environment where feeding occurs, and the nature of the rating system employed. Some of the difficulties are illustrated by reviewing experiments looking at the impact of food on mood. The mood-rating systems in common use in nutrition research are then reviewed, the requirements of a better mood-rating system are described, and guidelines are provided for a considered choice of mood-rating system including that assessment should: have two main dimensions; be brief; balance simplicity and comprehensiveness; be easy to use repeatedly. Also mood should be assessed only under conditions where cognitive biases have been considered and controlled

    Old stellar Galactic disc in near-plane regions according to 2MASS: scales, cut-off, flare and warp

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    We have pursued two different methods to analyze the old stellar population near the Galactic plane, using data from the 2MASS survey. The first method is based on the isolation of the red clump giant population in the color-magnitude diagrams and the inversion of its star counts to obtain directly the density distribution along the line of sight. The second method fits the parameters of a disc model to the star counts in 820 regions. Results from both independent methods are consistent with each other. The qualitative conclusions are that the disc is well fitted by an exponential distribution in both the galactocentric distance and height. There is not an abrupt cut-off in the stellar disc (at least within R<15 kpc). There is a strong flare (i.e. an increase of scale-height towards the outer Galaxy) which begins well inside the solar circle, and hence there is a decrease of the scale-height towards the inner Galaxy. Another notable feature is the existence of a warp in the old stellar population whose amplitude is coincident with the amplitude of the gas warp. It is shown for low latitude stars (mean height: |z|~300 pc) in the outer disc (galactocentric radius R>6 kpc) that: the scale-height in the solar circle is h_z(R_sun)=3.6e-2 R_sun, the scale-length of the surface density is h_R=0.42 R_sun and the scale-length of the space density in the plane (i.e. including the effect of the flare) is H=0.25 R_sun. The variation of the scale-height due to the flare follows roughly a law h_z(R) =~ h_z(R_sun) exp [(R-R_\odot)/([12-0.6R(kpc)] kpc)] (for R<~15 kpc; R_sun=7.9 kpc). The warp moves the mean position of the disc to a height z_w=1.2e-3 R(kpc)^5.25 sin(phi+(5 deg.)) pc (for R<~13 kpc; R_sun=7.9 kpc).Comment: LaTEX, 20 pages, 23 figures, accepted to be published in A&
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