Author Archives: George Beam

About George Beam

I'm an educator and author. The perspectives that inform my interpretations of the topics of this blog are behaviorism and system analysis. Specific interests include American politics, socioeconomic issues, survey research, and effects of the Internet and attendant hard- and software. I'm Associate Professor Emeritus, Department of Public Administration, Affiliated Faculty, Department of Political Science, University of Illinois at Chicago.

Internet+ Effects: Twitter

There’s growing awareness that the Internet plus attendant hardware (e.g., smartphones) and software (e.g., Twitter) have fundamentally altered most, if not all, aspects of life, including our perceptions of our experiences. A case in point is Rich Lowery’s National Review article, … Continue reading

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Alchemic Askers Transform by Dropping “Say They”

Survey researchers—and, commonly, others describing or summarizing asking research (e.g., reporters and commentators)—employ alchemy to make the results of asking efforts appear more valuable than they are. In working these wizardries, survey researchers join ancient and medieval magicians who claimed … Continue reading

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Questions Manufacture Answers

Updated March 14, 2021 A recent poll asserts that 13 percent of respondents said they believed President Joe Biden is “very responsible” for the January 6 U.S. Capital riot. This is a good example of how questions manufacture answers. To … Continue reading

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Professional Associations, Offline Filter Bubbles, and Confirmation Bias

Professional associations are offline filter bubbles. They’re instances of the natural and, thereby, inevitable situations of being with others like us and thus experiencing and believing what others like us experience and believe. As such, professional associations instill confirmation bias, a … Continue reading

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All Societies Are Rigged

Updated March 23, 2021 All societies are rigged. That’s because every society has a structure that gives the edge to some while disadvantaging others. Even liberal societies with their deservedly celebrated tolerance cannot escape this reality. “The . . . … Continue reading

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Fractured into Three Americas and Implications for Government

One of the characteristics of our Internet+ Age is that we’re fractured into more numerous and more intense groups. Jim Vanderlei describes one aspect of this splintering, writing that America “is breaking into blue America, red America, and Trump America.” The vehemence of … Continue reading

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We Can’t Think Outside the Box

Updated January 27, 2021 We can’t think outside the box because thinking is boxed in by language; specifically, by the words in language and the meaning of those words. Thinking and language/words are inextricably linked. We can’t have a thought/idea/concept … Continue reading

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Askers Make Answers Unreliable

Askers, as is the case for instruments and settings, affect answers and, thereby, make them unreliable. Answers may be accurate and correspond to what’s really going on, or they may not. Because askers only have answers, it’s impossible for them … Continue reading

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Asking Settings Make Answers Unreliable

Settings in which questions are asked and answers given make answers unreliable; that is, answers that may, or may not, be accurate. This happens because components in the two types of settings (societal and immediate, discussed below) skew answers, and … Continue reading

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Unrepresentative Samples and Results: Fatal Flaws in Survey Research

Updated December 8, 2020 Unrepresentative samples and, therefore, unrepresentative results, are fatal flaws in survey research. With rare exception, all survey research efforts (polls, surveys, interviews, et al.) are unrepresentative, thereby producing unreliable answers; that is, answers that may, or … Continue reading

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