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Ekstrom Library

SOC 303: Research Methods (Potter): Evaluation Exercise

Class Article

Wildeman, Christopher, Jason Schnittker and Kristin Turney. 2012. "Despair by Association? the Mental Health of Mothers with Children by Recently Incarcerated Fathers." American Sociological Review 77(2):216-243.

Exercise: Evaluating Information Sources


The following exercise is designed to help you with effectively read and evaluate sociological research. Skim through the questions below, and open up your article and respond to the following questions with your group. 

Questions to Answer and Discuss with your Group

Read through the following questions, and then download the PDF of the article and skim throughout it to respond to the following questions:

  1. In a couple of sentences, summarize the research problem, research question, or hypothesis

  2. Look up information about the authors and journal American Sociological Review. What did you find out about their level of credibility?

  3. What kinds of evidence or data do the authors use to support their claims? Point to at least one example. 

  4. Why do you think the article is organized the way it is? What do the main sections (Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results, DIscussion, Limitations, etc.) contribute to the article? Think about the kind of information each section contributes.