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Old 11-22-2004, 05:55 PM   #1 (permalink)
Psycho
 
Location: Dreams
A quick proofread anyone? Sociology Paper

Gonna hand this in tomorrow at 9:00AM central but I'll check here before class if any of you would like to insult my grammatical skills!

The criteria was to read two sociological articles, summarize each one, compare/contrast them, and write a conclusion of the findings.

Here is a link to the first article I mention.
Here is the Census Article


Quote:
Why don’t people vote? This is a simple question with a not so simple answer. The voting process in the United States of America has provided plenty of material for sociologists to ponder over since the days of George Washington & Thomas Jefferson. Voter turnout has been low for decades and there is no clear answer as to why. Some of the factors that seem to affect the voter turnout are political parties, interest groups, the economy, and the media.

One article on voting is called “Macroeconomic Conditions, Voter Turnout, and the Working-Class/Economically Disadvantaged Party Vote in Developing Countries” by Edwin Aguilar and Alexander Pacek. This article is in the October 2000 volume of the journal, “Comparative Political Studies”. The authors of this article have put together a well constructed study on the effects of the economy on voter turnout. This study is primarily dealing with smaller developing countries like Botswana, Chile, Jamaica, and Uruguay, yet it often compares and contrasts these results to other studies done on industrial societies such as the United States or Western European States. The authors summarize their goals when they write, “We seek to understand the relationship between voter turnout, macroeconomic conditions, and support for political parties with explicit appeals to the working class and disadvantaged elements of society in developing countries” (Aguilar/Pacek 996). Their findings seem to show a direct correlation between economically troubled regions and increases in the number of disadvantaged voters. In their eloquent words, “economic downturns lead to increases in electoral participation as those citizens for whom the stakes are highest turn out in greater numbers. This in turn leads to increases in support for such parties because these citizens form the core constituencies of such parties” (1006). This study includes some statistical findings that the authors have compiled into multiple charts. One can extract from these findings that, on average, “a 5% decline in national income increases voter participation by more than 2.5%; economic decline imposes costs on segments of society that in turn vote in greater numbers” (1008). This is a very thorough study that was obviously researched intensively and is a prime example of a sociological journal article.

The second article that I examined was a report done by the US Census Bureau. The authors are Amie Jamieson, Hyon Shin, and Jennifer Day, and the title is, “Voting and Registration in the Election of November 2000”. This study takes a look at a large amount of data that was collected after the 2000 elections and summarizes the findings. The information on voting and registration in the report comes from the November supplement to the Current Population Survey (CPS), which asked respondents whether they were registered and whether they voted in the election. Some of the statistics that this report looked at were voting among the total citizen and registered voting-age population, the percentage of certain races' voting habits, an analysis of some of the factors that seem to have an effect on whether people vote or not, and a look at some of the historical trends of voting in this country. The findings showed that the highest number of voters were in the white, non-Hispanic population with the highest concentration in the 65 to 74 year old age range. The study pointed out that women have recently surpassed men in the voting counts. The authors note that, “this trend coincides with a number of social changes for women over the past few decades. Educational attainment and the labor force participation rate, both strong correlates of voting, have risen significantly among women” (Jamieson/Shin/Day 4). Some other factors that seemed to increase the likelihood of a person to vote were higher education, income, job level, homeownership, and a longtime residency. Comparing the state voting levels the Midwest had the most average votes which the authors attributed to the lenient voter registration laws that allowed people in most Midwestern states the ability to register to vote the day of the election. This survey also inquired as to why those who chose not to vote decided that way. Of the 19 million that abstained from voting, about 21% said they were too busy, about 15% put there response in the illness or emergency category, 12% said they were flat out not interested, and the rest gave various other reasons with the least common answer of bad weather at .6%. When it comes to voting statistics it is hard to get more verifiable than the US Census Bureau and this report gives an excellent overview of voting trends in this country.

When comparing these two articles it is important to keep in mind that the former article was looking at voting trends in all different kinds of environments, whereas the latter was specifically focused on United States voters. In the few issues that they both specifically address I would say there is a measure of agreement between the authors. The former article states that, economics downturns lead to increases in electoral participation as those citizens for whom the stakes are highest turn out in greater numbers” (Aguilar/Pacek 1006). Which coincides nicely with the quote from the Census that, “The characteristics of people who are most likely to go to the polls are a reflection of both the racial/ethnic composition of the citizen population and the attributes of people with the biggest stakes in society” (Jamieson/Shin/Day 3). The former article also stipulates that, “fluctuations in electoral participation result in concomitant fluctuations in electoral support for certain types of political parties” (Aguilar/Pacek 1010). While this conclusion in not stated in the Census article, one could extract that conclusion theoretically from the data, although incorporating political party affiliation into their report would obviously have made this much more apparent. It seems that most of the data that Aguilar and Pacek were using had come from previous studies, while the Census Bureau obviously retrieved their own information which is a large difference in the two studies. Another difference is that the statistical models presented on the developing nation's information were a bit more advanced in their construction than the Bureau's, incorporating things like dummy variables, however that might just be the ignorance of the author of this paper on the subject of statistical analysis coming to light. The more compelling argument came from the two scholars just because it seemed like they actually were trying to prove or discover something, while the census was merely reporting its findings, without much extrapolation if any.

Upon completing these two articles I definitely consider myself more aware of some of the factors involved in voter turnout across the globe as well as in my own nation. Finding two perfect articles for this assignment proved a bit more difficult than expected, however the ones that I did find definitely elevated my interest in the topics discussed. The Aguilar/Pacek article piqued my interest the most of the two, just because it was dealing with foreign affairs which I have very little knowledge of, although I am interested in them greatly. Summed up, my findings are that the lower class will come out to vote in greater numbers if their personal stakes are higher, which is common in a situation with an unstable economy; and that there are many different factors involved when it comes to determining the likely hood of an individual to participate in an election with the biggest three being personal history, income, and location.
Thanks a lot folks, I appreciate every suggestion!
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Old 11-22-2004, 08:46 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hopefully these don't seem too critical.

You could possibly use "include" instead of "are" in the first paragraph to be more specific.

I'm not sure how the professor wanted you to cite things, but usually I leave just the author name and year of publication in the body of the text, leaving the full document summary on the last page in a "works cited". Here is a link for MLA format if you need it: http://www.hcc.hawaii.edu/education/...ry/mlahcc.html

You might want to remove the last sentence in the second paragraph - it goes without saying that if the article was published it recieved close peer-reviewed scrutiny. Also again in the third paragraph. You might just want summarize the key points in your paragraph to end them
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Old 11-22-2004, 10:38 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I would like to introduce myself to the person that came up with the five paragraph essay, torture them in three different ways, and then conclude their life.

It might just be a matter of writing style, but I doubt you'd have time to make the changes I'd recommend... and why should you make them, anyway? Here's the two big big ones:
NeoRete is right about that being a seriously weird way to cite the articles.
Cut the second sentence of the first paragraph.
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Old 11-23-2004, 06:30 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for the suggestions! That citation method was the MLA they taught in HS, and those redundant sentences are a throw back to high school paper filler. I'll probably post another paper here soon, thanks for the contributions.
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