The Chronicle of Higher Education
February 17th, 2015
Nowadays, Alfredo García studies graffiti.
His dissertation in sociology at Princeton University is an ethnography
of a changing Miami neighborhood, which means he spends his time
chatting up strangers, arranging interviews, and climbing ladders with
street artists. But during his second year at Princeton, in 2012, he
tried something else. With a bit of out-of-pocket money, he surveyed 420
people about how looking at different kinds of fake Facebook profiles
affected their views about Islam. He obtained clear statistical findings
and produced a paper that is now under review at a respected journal.
In the process he didn’t meet a single one of his subjects; not one of
them was a Princeton undergraduate required to take surveys for a class.