Race, Ethnicity, and Quantitative Methodology


  • Mosi A. Ifatunji, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Social scientists adopted statistics in large part to measure and study race and racialized population groups. Given this motivation, it was during the eugenics debate of the early 20th century that interest in social statistics grew exponentially. During this period, social scientists and demographers sought to demarcate racial groups and assess differences between population groups so specified. Although those initially interested in social statistics were very interested in race, today most social scientists study these topics separately. As a result, best practices in social statistics are often blind to race and ethnicity and students of race and ethnicity are often uninterested in statistics. This course will develop quantitative researchers who give greater, more careful and keen consideration to how race and ethnicity fit in their statistical models. The course will also give race and ethnicity scholars a greater ability to understand, analyze, and use quantitative methods.

The course will cover four broad topic areas. The first week lays the groundwork for the course by focusing on key concepts and includes a special session on race, ethnicity, and research ethics. The week explores foundational concepts including: race, ethnicity, racialization, ethnogenesis, inequality, stratification, prejudice, discrimination, and ethnoracial orders. Week 2 focuses on measurement and operationalization. Topics include: measuring race and ethnicity, operationalizing race and ethnicity in multivariate models, measuring group disparities, measuring prejudice, and measuring discrimination. Week 3 covers research design and data collection strategies. Topics include: questionnaire design, sampling and social survey methods, and experimental and quasi-experimental methods. The course will conclude with a detailed focus on statistical analysis and inference. The final week reviews practical strategies for appropriately assessing race and/or ethnic "effects" across a range of statistical methodologies and introduces datasets, available from ICPSR, that are mindful of many of the issues covered in the course.

In order to achieve these goals, the course is mostly conceptual, and participants are strongly recommended to have had one of each of the following courses prior to attendance: a basic course in race and ethnicity, a graduate level course in research methods, and a graduate level course in social statistics. For those interested in a more focused study of quantitative methodologies, participants are encouraged to dual enroll in one of the many training courses offered at the ICPSR Summer Program. For more information, including a detailed course description, please email: ifatunji@unc.edu.

Fees: Consult the fee structure.

Tags: race, ethnicity, ethnoraciality, ethnogenesis, discrimination, inequality, stratification, racial order, research design, data collection, measurement, operationalization, statistical inference

Course Sections

Section 1

Location: ICPSR -- Ann Arbor, MI

Date(s): June 22 - July 17

Time: 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM


  • Mosi A. Ifatunji, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


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