Practice Exercises

1. The journals Social Science History and Journal of Social History report many studies of historical processes. Select one article from a recent journal issue about a historical process used to explain some event or other outcome. Summarize the author’s explanation. Identify any features of the explanation that are temporal, holistic, and conjunctural. Prepare a chronology of the important historical events in that process. Do you agree with the author’s causal conclusions? What additional evidence would strengthen the author’s argument?

2. Exhibit 15.18 identifies voting procedures and the level of turnout in one election for 10 countries. Do voting procedures appear to influence turnout in these countries? To answer this question using Mill’s methods, you will first have to decide how to dichotomize the values of variables that have more than two values (postal voting, proxy voting, and turnout). You must also decide what to do about missing values. Apply Mill’s method of agreement to the pattern in the table. Do any variables emerge as likely causes? What additional information would you like to have for your causal analysis?

3. Using your library’s government documents collection or the U.S. Census site on the web, select one report by the U.S. Census Bureau about the population of the United States or some segment of it. Outline the report and list all the tables included in it. Summarize the report in two paragraphs. Suggest a historical or comparative study for which this report would be useful.

4. Find a magazine or newspaper report on a demographic issue, such as population change or migration. Explain how one of the key demographic concepts could be used or was used to improve understanding of this issue.

5. Complete the Interactive Exercise for Chapter 15. 

6. Select an article from this site that used a historical or comparative design. Which specific type of design was used? What were the advantages of this design for answering the research question posed?

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