Please join us for a colloquium being given by Mario Small, Grafstein Family Professor of Sociology at Harvard University.
Someone To Talk To: Perception v. Reality in How People Seek Support
When people seek emotional support, how do they decide whom to talk to? Network analysis and common sense would both suggest that people will go to those they are closest to—their strong ties. Based on in-depth interviews with graduate students in one university and nationally representative survey data on adults 18 and older, Small finds reason to question that belief. Shifting from what people say to what they actually do, Small shows that widely-agreed upon assumptions about the nature of strong ties do not stand up to qualitative empirical scrutiny—do not accord with how people in their ordinary lives interact with those they are close to. The findings will suggest that, in big data era, qualitative research has become more, not less important to social science.