Tag Archive

Empirical research

When (or is it how) do numbers matter?

I am a historian and…I think I like numbers. Is that a confession or a contradiction? Lately, I have sought refuge in public opinion polls when trying to write about public morality. Numbers are comforting in this endeavor because the idea of public morality is so conflicted and hazardous. To put it simply, when I am curious how blocks of Americans attempt to make sense of BIG issues such as war, abortion, same-sex unions, spreading democracy, the role of God in the nation’s history, etc., I turn to public opinion polls to help ground me in what I think is Read more