Tuesday, 3 July 2012

The Sociology Paper Title Generator

After noticing a trend towards quite generic naming of papers in sociology I decided to write a quick script to generate new ones. I took some components of some recent working papers and combined them at random. Initially, I thought it would generate some hilariously ridiculous sounding papers. More worryingly, it generates lots of very plausible sounding research topics. Here are the first 11 it generated:
A spatial analysis of cooperation and end of life care : in Eleven European countries 
The social determinants of Labour market outcomes and Class mobility : in Eleven European countries 
Revisiting Class mobility and part-time working : new perspectives for European research 
Measuring Fertility history and UK immigration policy : recent evidence from Germany 
Understanding employers' gendered hiring preferences and wives' earnings : assessing government responsiveness to public opinion 
Gender inequalities in part-time working and Employment change : recent evidence from Germany 
Long term trends in extreme right party membership and corruption : Does money matter? 
The effects of democracy on extreme right party membership and Class mobility : Does money matter? 
The social consequences of child mortality and Labour market outcomes : assessing government responsiveness to public opinion 
The effects of democracy on educational expansion and education :  revisiting the welfare state conundrum 
A spatial analysis of conflict and maternal education : in Eleven European countries

With the exception of Measuring Fertility history and UK immigration policy : recent evidence from Germany, none of these papers sound implausible and I really want to hear more about Long term trends in extreme right party membership and corruption. 

There's a serious side to this. Part of the problem with moving social science forwards is the difficulty in dismissing alternate explanations with limited data. If we really can connect any two variables together into a plausible hypothesis, how can we hope to dismiss all alternate explanations of any finding?

For anyone who's interested the R code is here. Feel free to add in additional topics and post any particularly interesting research topics. If you do end up writing a paper based on one of these titles, don't forget to cite this blogpost. 


  topics <- c("UK immigration policy", "maternal education", "the sex differential in infant mortality", "child mortality", "employers' gendered hiring preferences", "health", "wealth", "life-course inheritances", "education", "crime reduction", "end of life care", "fertility", "well being", "women's economic status", "family income", "child cognitive and behavioural development", "wives' earnings", "inequalties in earnings among households", "cooperation", "conflict", "prostitution", "human trafficking", "eating disorders", "the social integration of immigrants", "Fertility history", "Health and well-being", "Labour market outcomes", "Class mobility", "single-sex schooling", "early life experiences", "extreme right party membership", "corruption", "part-time working", "Employment change", "taxation", "income inequality", "dyadic reputation effects", "horizontal gender segregation", "educational expansion")

  locations <- c("in Switzerland 1950-2010", "among the Hmong people", "in Eleven European countries", "recent evidence from Germany", "an examination of the role of social and economic inequalities", "in the United Kingdom", "in 55 low and middle income countries", "the case of Northern Ireland", "Does money matter?", "new perspectives for European research",  "An experimental investigation", " Findings from the National Equality Panel", "in the european union", " an economic perspective", " a bayesian approach", "What we can learn from the emerging powers", " a challenge for restorative justice", "in social networks", " revisiting the welfare state conundrum", "assessing government responsiveness to public opinion", " a mobility action model", " understanding network governance") 

  links<-c("The nexus between", "Long term trends in", "Ethnic inequalities in", "", "An agent based modelling perspective on", "The network dynamics of", "Studying", "The Co-evolution of", "The growth of", "Measuring", "The social determinants of", "Long term shifts in", "The equalizing effect of", "Rethinking the relationship between", "Understanding", "Gender inequalities in", "The dynamics of", "A spatial analysis of", "The social consequences of", "The effects of democracy on", "Patterns in", "Revisiting")
  topic1 <- sample(topics,1)
  topic2 <- sample(topics,1)
  location <- sample(locations,1)
  link <- sample(links,1)
  sentence <- c(link,topic1,"and",topic2,":",location)


  1. Given the record of German immigration of a well known Oxford college some people might construe the 'Measuring Fertility history and UK immigration policy : recent evidence from Germany' paper as true.

  2. As far as I know, there's not been a huge level of fertility among that immigrant population.

  3. This is also awesome: http://writing-program.uchicago.edu/toys/randomsentence/write-sentence.htm

  4. Almost every title sounds interesting. I think the problem is that often the subtitle don't match.

    By the way, take a look at this post: How old is the stuff sociologists cite? http://urbandemographics.blogspot.com.br/2013/01/how-old-is-stuff-sociologists-cite.html

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  6. Sometimes students choose an easy way - they buy research papers from sites like this: https://buyessayonline.ninja/blog/write-research-paper-well
    And personally I don't see anything bad at it. Sometimes you just lack ideas so you even can't get a topic. I call that "creative crisis". Or even you lack time. Anyway afterwards you'll have some spare time for self education, and of course you can read the paper after you get it, so you'll learn something anyway.

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