Race and Disparities Related to It


The sociological research field embodies numerous topics and relevant issues that need academic investigation. One of the main problems in contemporary American society is race and disparities related to it. Various spheres of life are proved to be impacted by ethnicity, including education, crime, healthcare, and employment. The research study chosen for the analysis was conducted by Pager and Pedulla (2015). It focuses on the investigation of the relations between race and workplace with acute attention paid to minority representatives’ choice of a place of work. In this analysis paper, the research question, method, and findings of the study will be discussed with the following assessment of the results.

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Research Question

The study by Pager and Pedulla (2015) aims at the extensive research of the trends in the job search of African Americans in comparison to their White counterparts. The research question concerns the issue of discrimination avoidance as a barrier to job-seeking procedures. The primary goal of the study is to identify to what extent the prospective racial discrimination in particular job categories influences the choice of employment for Black Americans. The author’s hypothesis is twofold and incorporates two opposite assumptions. The first one suggests that the representatives of minorities will self-select such spheres of occupation that are perceived as less prone to discrimination (Pager & Pedulla, 2015). The second hypothesis is that the examined population will “cast a wider net in hopes of finding a match” due to the opinion that discrimination is difficult to avoid (Pager & Pedulla, 2015, p. 1020). Therefore, to succeed in the achievement of the research aims, the researchers identify the predominant job-seeking strategies that characterize the perception of workplace discrimination by African Americans.

Research Method

To answer the research question, the method of survey was used in the study. The data used for the analysis of racial discrimination’s connection to job-seeking strategies of minorities was retrieved from the New Jersey Unemployment Insurance survey (NJUI). This survey was being conducted within 12 weeks from the end of 2009 until the beginning of 2010 and utilized the results of online panels (Pager & Pedulla, 2015). NJUI job search module was developed to work with a sample of 4,792 respondents of either white or black race aged between 18 and 64 years old.

The participants were asked to report the titles of jobs to which they applied on a weekly basis. As a result, a list of 35,106 job titles was generated and then categorized with the help of the Standard Occupational Classification coding (Pager & Pedulla, 2015). In such a manner, the researchers obtained several pools of jobs and analyzed to what work categories a particular respondent most frequently applied. Apart from the race as the primary personal characteristic of the participants, “age, gender, education, marital status, number of children, and homeownership” were taken into consideration when interpreting the study results (Pager & Pedulla, 2015, p. 1018). The breadth of the search was a primary issue under investigation since it showed whether a job-seeker faces any barriers in the choice of occupational categories to which he or she gives preference. Due to the large amount of data necessary for analysis, coarsen exact matching technique was used to compare the scores for African Americans with the ones for White respondents.

Study Findings

Based on the applied methods and techniques, the researchers present valuable results of the study. To verify the first hypothesis concerning the discrimination avoidance in job seeking, the likelihood to apply to a certain category of jobs by Whites and Blacks was compared. The findings show that the overall results are very similar, meaning that there was very little impact of race on job search preferences. The verification of the second hypothesis focusing on the breadth of search, the authors applied the analysis of the range of jobs in relation to race. No evidence was found that African American participants conducted a narrower job search in comparison with White respondents. Overall, it was found that gender, “occupational status, occupational earnings, and … levels of service” impact job-seeking strategies more than race (Pager & Pedulla, 2015, p. 1028). Blacks consider a more extensive range of occupations than whites do and show a low level of self-selection in their choice of occupation.


The process of research and its findings demonstrate the significant volume of work and the importance of the issue under investigation. The study was well conducted with the utilization of numerous samples and data from a credible survey. The vast number of participants and the multiple variable and dimension s applied to the analysis of the two hypotheses provides a basis for the results’ generalization. However, the method allowed for concentrating only on unemployed individuals, which deters the findings’ implication for currently employed job-seekers. On the other hand, the research was conducted with the provision of ethical considerations; no personal information about the participants was presented. In order to conduct a more precise analysis, I would limit the variables to race only and attract a balanced sample with an equal mean gender and age representatives from two groups: whites and blacks. However, I agree with the results of the current research study and think that its implications on the diminished role of race in job search might be in the focus of further research.


Pager, D., & Pedulla, D. S. (2015). Race, self-selection, and the job search process. American Journal of Sociology, 120(4), 1005-1054.

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