Friday, May 30, 2014
Philip J. Cook and Jens Ludwig (Duke University - Sanford School of Public Policy and University of Chicago) have posted Elusive Facts About Guns Violence: Where Good Surveys Go Bad (Mike Maltz (ed.) Envisioning Criminology: A Handbook of Emerging Research Strategies for Studying Crime and Justice (Forthcoming)) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Sometimes a survey is well designed, but the resulting estimates are demonstrably wrong, and by a wide margin. For that reason, we believe that if getting a reasonably accurate estimate is important (and if it is not, why bother?), then the analyst should ask and attempt to answer the following prosaic question: “Given everything we know, both from the survey in question and other sources, is this estimate in the right ballpark?” We might call this a “plausibility test.” It may seem like common sense, but a quick scan of reports of survey results will demonstrate that a discussion of procedure is far more common than a discussion of plausibility.
In what follows we consider three examples from the study of gun ownership and use (or misuse).