(362) One additional note on this half of the duel research study was that the pair of applicants with and without fictitious criminal records was rotated throughout the experiment to reduce the odds that a single applicant would alter results if assigned the rigid role of ex-con or clean record applicant.
In the second half of the research study the same set of potential employers was surveyed using a vignette method. The vignette described the scenario of applicants who matched the (tester) applicants. The employers who were screened by asking for the person in charge of hiring at the place of business were then asked to respond to the scenario by answering questions regarding if they would or would not hire or consider hiring the applicant in the vignette. Data was collected utilizing the responses to the survey questions, which avoided direct racial comparisons but simply stated the race of the vignette applicant in each scenario. The survey was also conducted in a split ballot method with none of the businesses being read the same vignette but all answering the same questions regarding the vignette, corresponding directly to the type of applicant that had applied for a job in the previous study. (362)
Data collection from both samples methods were then compiled individually and compared to one another to see if there was a significant statistical disparity between what employers reported they would do and what they actually did, when faced with a real applicant (tester) who was either black or white and had a criminal record or did not. Not surprisingly the comparison between the two tests supported the theory that more often than not employers acted in a way that was inconsistent with their reported intentions/hiring policies.
364) the work then goes on to analyze the results using different statistical methods, some resulting in greater disparity regarding race while still stressing the disparity in report vs. action. The results are in fact too conclusive to be completely dismisses based on any outside influences, though these should be discussed as point of critique.
The sample method, is sound but does have some limitations regarding the actual vs. intention to hire in any case, no matter the demographic of the individual. Characteristics of the job as well as real preconceived notions on the part of the potential employer regarding appearance and/or abilty based on it. Another issue that is important is that employers at any given entry level hiring process may be making rapid decisions based on very little information for a massive number of people. The number of applicants is a significant issue as well as other preconceptions on the part of the individual, regarding age, relative health or any other issue that cannot reasonably be allowed for. Another possible limitation of the results is that responses to job applications are actually rather rare, only a small number of the many who apply for a job actually receive call backs, especially in metropolitan areas. Gone are the days when employers made perfunctory phone calls to applicants or even sent out blanket form letters to invite applicants to interviews or to tell them that another was accepted for a job. This is even truer in the case of entry-level positions. One way that I might have altered this research would be to reduce possible interview bias by conducting the survey in a written form, possibly electronically, as there is at least some evidence that individuals are more candid in the electronic environment than in real life situations, where they are speaking to a live person on the phone or in person. The researchers likely conducted the survey by phone to increase the number of people completing the survey, which is a valid concern with written, hardcopy or electronic surveys. This research is, on the other hand very strong, having responded to as much possible causal interference as possible and still showing a distinct variation in the manner in which someone is willing to disclose they would act and how they actually act in a quasi-real setting.
Pager, Devah and Lincoln Quillian.. "Walking the Talk? What Employers Say vs. What They Do." American Sociological Review 70: 2005, 355-380.
Gray, Paul S., John B. Williamson, David a. Karp, and John R. Dalphin the Research Imagination: An Introduction to…