Counting on Success

2019-02-07

Assignments

Archival Data

Questions?

Historic Data

Reading Response

How does Glaser describe the success or failure of a city?

What aspects of success does he not talk about that you might expect in a history of Boston?

How do you define success?

What’s absent in this definition of Boston history?

Disciplinary differences

  • Glaser: economics
  • Boeing: Urban Planning
  • Rawson: History

Operation- alizing

  • “Boston was the heart of the American revolution.”
  • “Philadelphia was the heart of the American Revolution.”
  • “Virginia was the heart of the American Revolution.”

Most interesting concepts in the social sciences and humanities are not directly measurable.

But often you can can define a series of steps that make them make them measurable.

Operationalism, strong form.

The theory that concepts that can’t be measured are, strictly speaking, meaningless.

“Length” only has meaning with regards to the process you use to measure an object.

Length dilation

Most concepts in the humanities and social sciences aren’t obviously measurable.

  • bias
  • significance
  • centrality
  • influence
  • […]

Operationalizing a research question, weak form

Finding a measurement that maps well enough onto a concept that you can use it to shed new light on the underlying phenomenon.

How do you operationalize “learning?”

  • Standardized testing.

Question: Are Northeastern students racially biased their understand of Boston?

How would you operationalize that question?

History of Boston

Pre-1865: Agricultural/rural

Cotton-era Triangular Trade

Canton

Industrializing Ice

Pre-1865: Agricultural/rural

1865 - 1920: Urban manufacturing

Industrial Boston

?

Piano Craft Guild

Chickering Factory

1865 - 1920: Urban manufacturing

1920 - present: suburbs and exurbs

Boston Opera House

Snell Library

1965

Success activity

In groups of 4

  1. Come up with a definition of urban success to apply on the last 20 years. Not the most important one; just one that you agree matters, some. (2 min.)

In groups of 4

  1. Come up with a definition of success to apply on the last 20 years. Not the most important one; just one that you agree matters, some. (2 min.)
  2. Sketch out an imagined dataset that would allow you operationalize it. What are the rows and columns? What would a convincing chart from this set look like that showed success? Failure? Draw some images on paper. (5 min.)