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June 09, 2008

IRiSS in Focus Newsletter--June 9, 2008

From the Director: Congratulations to the recipients of the first IRiSS seed grants and faculty fellow awards! Read on for details about the awards, as well as on IRiSS research services and other recognition, news, and activity within our social science community. - Karen Cook, IRiSS Director and Ray Lyman Wilbur Professor and Chair of Sociology

Research Support Efforts
Early Career Fellows Program: IRiSS is formalizing an early career fellows program. Let us know whether you want to take part next year. Quarterly lunches on topics of mutual interest (meetings with grant program officers, discussions about research technology issues and solutions) will be a primary activity.

Experimental Research Design Consulting: Are you interested in running an experimental research design project but have questions about how to do it? IRiSS offers consulting on how to set up such projects successfully. Please send an email to iriss_exr1@lists. stanford.edu if interested in assistance.

Technology Updates
GIS Support: To better support the increased usage of spatial data in the social sciences, IRiSS is developing a framework for GIS (Geographic Information Systems) support geared for social science researchers. The following activities are currently taking place:

* reviewing work being done in the field and at peer institutions
* determining usage and future needs at Stanford
* surveying state of tools and software available

Data Visualization: IRiSS continues its efforts to develop tools for on-demand visualization of data through simple web interfaces displaying the data in an interactive manner. Recent work includes:

* embarking on pilot work to test currently available data visualization tools
* working with faculty who have already considered the use of data visualization to promote their research agenda
* seeking faculty with cleaned data sets which are ready to be used for test visualizations (cannot contain private, confidential, or protected data)

Over time, we envision providing a broad-based tool that will visually “transcribe” data posted by those within and outside of Stanford for the purpose of advancing social science research.

High Performance Computing Grid: What is a high performance computing grid and what can it do for social science researchers? The grid links numerous computers together to share computing workloads, thus improving the efficiency of large scale problem analysis. IRiSS, along with members of Department of English and the Division of Literatures, Cultures and Languages (DLCL) have put together a test computing grid in order to perform some initial testing and benchmarking of the technology. Another aim is to see how such technologies such as grid computing might be used in social science and the humanities with the increasing trends toward large data analyses.

We expect the growth of such a grid to incorporate computers which tend to have spare cycles and only used during certain parts of the day, thereby yielding a substantial increase in the performance of problem solving and statistical analyses.

Those seeking additional information or interested in participating in any of the above initiatives should contact Vijoy Abraham, IRiSS Academic Technology Specialist.

News From IRiSS Centers
Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (PACS): Rob Reich will become a co-director of the Center as of September 2008, joining Woody Powell and Deb Meyerson.

2009 PACS Fellows: The following six PhD candidates have been selected as the 2009 PACS Fellows. Their research projects are as follows:

Tara Béteille’09 (economics of education): Examining the role of education-related civil society mechanisms in India, such as Village Education Committees, in addressing teacher accountability in low-income public schools.

Christopher Bryan ’09 (social psychology): Looking at the effect s of whether people feel, either through their own personal merit or good fortune, greater empathy for the plight of the poor and charitable giving and if so, how that empathy may affect their willingness to contribute to charitable organizations serving the poor.

Roy Elis ’09 (political science): Assessing how citizens can work through the institutions of civil society to expand access to K-12 public education in developing countries.

Paul Gowder '11 (political science): Examining the extent to which normative theory can serve the values of both deliberation and participation while recognizing the difficulty of achieving those values together in civil society.

Kaisa Snellman '10 (organizational sociology): Looking at the key drivers of U.S. civic life by seeking to understand the relationship between neighborhood civic infrastructure and collective civic action.

Megan Tompkins ’11 (education, sociology): Studying how philanthropic foundations mobilize political movements and influence specific public policy change.

Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality (CPI):
Pathways: The second issue of Pathways will be coming out in August, with a special focus on whether anti-recession economic policy in the U.S. can deliver stimulus and fight poverty and inequality at the same time.

Stanford Poverty Count: A new initiative to release a Stanford Poverty Count is being launched by CPI. The initiative, which received seed funding from H&S, aims to provide a more accurate measure of poverty in the U.S.

Grant Announcements
Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (PACS): PACS has been awarded $450,000 from the
President's Office to focus engagement with undergraduate and graduate students and to boost faculty involvement through fellowships, workshops, and expanded programming.

IRiSS Seed Grants: IRiSS is pleased to announce the first recipients of its new seed grant and faculty fellow programs. A total of eight seed grants as high as $10,000 were awarded to social science faculty undertaking high-risk, high-return research projects. The seed grants offer the potential to boost extramural funding. The awardees are:

Nick Bloom, Max Floetotto, Nir Jaimovich (economics)— "Really Uncertain Business Cycles"

Melissa Brown & Marcus Feldman (anthropology)—"Chinese Marriage Forms, Son Preferences, and Sex Ratios: Combining Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches to a Major Demographic and Cultural Problem"

Jennifer Eberhardt (psychology)—“The Continued Dehumanization of Blacks in the Modern Era”

Petra Moser (economics)—"Regulation in Financial Markets: Evidence from Specialists' Willingness to Pay for NYSE Seats - 1883 to 1978"

Susan Olzak (sociology)— "Globalization and the Environmental Justice Movement"

Michael Rosenfeld (sociology)— "A Longitudinal Study of Couple Formation and Dissolution"

Rob Reich (political science)—Support for the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society proposal to the Hewlett Foundation

Jonathan Rodden, Karen Jusko, and Alberto Diaz-Cayeros (political science)—"The Geographic Distribution of Income and Political Preferences"

Paul Sniderman (political science)— "Liberal Democracy Under Pressure—An International Collaboration"

First class of IRiSS faculty fellows: The faculty fellows program welcomed eight faculty from multiple departments who are exploring cutting-edge research questions, with the goal of creating and communicating new knowledge through research publications and in the classroom. The fellows are:

Melissa Brown (anthropology)—“Chinese Marriage Forms, Son Preferences, and Sex Ratios: Combining Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches to a Major Demographic and Cultural Problem"

Henning Hillman (sociology)—"The Political Economy of Privateering"

Karen Jusko and Jonathan Rodden (sociology)— "The Geographic Distribution of Income and Political Preferences"

Dan McFarland, Woody Powell, Chris Manning, Dan Jurafsky (School of Education, departments of computer science and linguistics) –“The Minerva Project: What Drives the Dynamics of Science?”

Other grants:
Ian Gotlib received a 2-year NIH R21 grant on "An Integrative Psychobiological Investigation of Comorbid Depression and Anxiety."

Awards/Recognition
The Methods of Analysis Program in the Social Science (MAPSS) Awardees: Congrats to the first group of students who completed the MAPSS methods certification program: Laurel Harbridge, Josh Pasek, Daniel Schneider, Pantipa Tachawachira, Xin Wei, and Michael Weiksner. The MAPSS graduate certificate recognizes Stanford PhD students who have developed methodological skills with advanced cross-disciplinary training in research methods--either quantitative or qualitative or both.

From the psychology department:
Brian Wandell has been awarded the 2008 Tillyer Award from the Optical Society.

Hazel Markus received the 2008 APA Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award.

Lee Ross will be awarded the 2008 Distinguished Scientist Development Award from the Society of Experimental Social Psychology

James Gross has been awarded the 2008 Stanford Postdoctoral Mentoring Award.

Al Bandura was awarded the prestigious Grawemeyer Award for his contributions to psychology.

Three-year NIH fellowships were recently awarded to psychology post doctoral scholars: Nathan Witthoft, Moriah Caires, and Nicolas Davidenko.

Two- year fellowships from NARSAD were recently awarded to psychology post doctoral scholars Moriah Caires and Paul Hamilton.

Other
Dan Blocksom ’08, an undergraduate economics major in the lab of Jon Krosnick, won a Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education travel award allowing him to present his honors thesis research at the annual meeting of the American Association for Public Opinion Research in New Orleans.

Mark Granovetter, Joan Butler Ford Professor Department of Sociology, was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. The Academy began naming fellows in 2000 and names four to eight each year.

Simon Jackman is co-principal investigator on a large project looking at the presidential election campaign. Known as the Cooperative Campaign Analysis Project, it is the only nationwide presidential poll conducted on the Internet and is reaching one of the largest groups of U.S. voters ever fielded in a study of a U.S. presidential race.

The American National Election Studies project, under the direction of co-principal investigator Jon Kronsick, has received supplemental funding from the National Science Foundation to expand its research pool and augment its programming.

Jon Krosnick has given a number of invited addresses in recent months. Highlights include:

“Climate Change and the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election.” Eighth National Conference on Science, Policy, and the Environment: Climate Change: Science and Solutions. Conference sponsored by the National Council for Science and the Environment, Washington, DC.

“Explaining the Relation of Aging with Susceptibility to Attitude Change.” Eighth Annual SPSP Attitudes Preconference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

“Comparisons of Survey Modes in Terms of Data Quality.” Department of Families, Housing, Community Services, and Indigenous Affairs, Australian Government, Canberra, Australia.

“What the American Public Really Thinks About Climate Change: New Evidence on Amelioration Strategies.” Union of Concerned Scientists Retreat, National Labor College, Silver Spring, Maryland.

Events
RC28 Conference: The Summer 2008 meeting of the Research Committee on Social Stratification and Mobility (RC28) of the International Sociological Association (ISA) will be held at Stanford from August 6-9. The meeting is being organized by numerous social science faculty and students throughout Stanford and is sponsored by CPI and The Stanford Department of Sociology.

Media Mentions
The PACS Center was featured in the Spring 2008 issue of InterAction, Stanford's publication featuring multidisciplinary research. The article focuses on the Center's faculty, graduate students, and practitioners who are studying how civil society is slowly supplanting the state.

From the psychology department:
Lera Boroditsky on "When Language Can Hold the Answer" in NYT on 4/22/08.

Al Bandura on "If at First You Don't Succeed" in WSJ on 4/29/08.

Brian Knutson's research regarding "this is your brain on shopping" on Marketplace Money of American Public Radio on Friday, 04/11/08.

General Announcements
Press Coverage for Research: Adam Gorlick (the new social science reporter for The Stanford Report) and Jonathan Rabinovitz (the University’s media relations director) met with a dozen social science faculty to give suggestions for working with the media. Contact Tanya or Adam if you have press ideas. Also, if you’re willing to be included in an IRiSS “experts” directory, this new internal list will be used by Jonathan and Adam to connect their media contacts to appropriate topic experts on campus. To add yourself to the directory, please visit this link.

Thanks for your interest in IRiSS in Focus. Comments or suggestions are always welcome--please direct them to IRiSS Communcations Manager Tanya Brugh.


Posted by tanya at 12:17 PM

June 02, 2008

New Stanford Poverty Count

A new initiative to release a Stanford Poverty Count is being launched by the Stanford Center for the Study of Poverty and Inequality. The initiative aims to provide a more accurate measure of poverty in the U.S. by taking into account factors not considered in the current poverty index. The Stanford Poverty Count will more accurately measure which families are poor and whether poverty is increasing or declining.

Posted by tanya at 02:46 PM