Syllabus 2014 – 2015


Syllabus, Graduate School for Social Research

Semesters I and II, 2014-2015

From Idea to Research and Publishing in the Social Sciences 

Instructor:                    Dr. Joshua K. Dubrow

Place:                          Room 200 (exception: October 23 – room 242) GSSR, Palac Staszica, Nowy Swiat 72

Time and date: Each class is three hours; there will be ten classes

Course Website: 

Office Hours:              By appointment


Course Description  

The purpose of this course is to instruct graduate students on how to turn their research ideas into high quality research products, including dissertation proposal, conference presentations, proposal for grants, awards and fellowships, or a journal article.  This course discusses best practices for:

(1)  Developing ideas into manageable research projects

(2) Developing research questions that generate interest and answer the question of “So What?”

(3)  Sorting through research studies relevant to one’s project

(4)  Framing research questions, problem statements and results to specific types of audiences

(5)  Finding sources of funding, awards and fellowships, conferences and publication outlets

(6)  Completing funding, award and fellowship applications

(7)  Participating in conferences and in professional associations

(8)  Sending an article to academic journals for publication consideration

(9)  Research ethics

In addition, we will examine main research trends the social sciences, including cross-national comparisons and interdisciplinarity.

Course Objectives

This course aims to provide students the key skills for developing both academic and non-academic research products.  At the end of this course, the student should be able to

— Implement their ideas into a research project that is methodologically feasible and relevant to the social sciences;

— Present their research ideas, research questions and/or results to a scholarly audience in writing and orally;

— Review existing literature and effectively select that which is relevant to their project;

— Condense complicated ideas into short, meaningful descriptions;

— Find potential funding sources for their project, including fellowship or award opportunities;

— Write applications for funding and awards.

The course will also facilitate thinking that is logical, reading that is critical, and writing that is clear, simple and engaging.

Course Requirements and Evaluation

Class participation (40%):  Students are expected to discuss all of the assigned readings on the due date and to participate in in-class discussions and projects.  During each class selected participants will informally present their research ideas to the class for general discussion with constructive criticism.  Details will be discussed in class.

Class Presentation (20%): Students will formally present their research ideas.  Details will be discussed in class.

Review of a Research Article (20%): Students are to write a two-page (single spaced) review of a research article.  Details will be discussed in class.

Application and Proposal (20%): Students are to begin applying for funding, award or fellowship.  Details will be discussed in class.

Policies on Attendance, Late Materials, and Exam Make-Ups:

You are allowed a maximum of two unexcused absences.  Your overall grade can be reduced by 5% per unexcused absence after the maximum has been reached.  You are responsible for any and all in-class materials, including hand-outs and lecture notes.

Please remember to be courteous and polite to one another during heated discussions.  We will be with each other for over three months and we all need a healthy and comfortable environment to learn and discuss issues.

I accept late materials only if I am notified 24 hours prior to the deadline.  Late writing assignments will be assessed a penalty of 10% off per day.

It is the responsibility of the student to be sure that I receive emailed assignments and papers.  Excuses and explanations regarding problems in submitting emailed and other electronic materials due to internet, computer or affiliated issues of any kind are only accepted at my discretion.

Course Outline and Course Readings 

Most course readings are available at the GSSR library or on the course website.  Readings marked with an “R” are REQUIRED, or mandatory readings.  TBA is “to be announced” at a later date.  Students are expected to have read the REQUIRED readings on the date they are assigned. Dates of classes are subject to change.

Class Period Topic Readings


October 9


12:30 – 14:30

Introduction to the course and ethics of research and publishing R — Economic and Social Resource Council. 2010.  Framework for Research Ethics.


R – International Sociological Association Code of Ethics


R – Fujii, Lee Ann. 2012. “Research Ethics 101: Dilemmas and Responsibilities.” PS: Political Science and Politics October: 717 – 723.




October 16


12:00 – 14:30 

Doing original research that generates interest and answers the question of, “So What?” R — Guetzkow,  Joshua, Michèle Lamont and Grégoire Mallard.  2004.  “What Is Originality in the Humanities and the Social Sciences?” American Sociological Review 69(2): 190-212.


R — Davis, Murray S. 1971. “That’s Interesting: Towards a Phenomenology of Sociology and a Sociology of Phenomenology.” Philosophy of the Social Sciences 1(4).




October 22


12:00 – 14:30

Practical guides for graduate students in managing the dissertation process R — Farrar-Myers, Victoria A. 2001. “The ‘Rights’ of Passage.” PS: Political Science and Politics 34(4):  845-6.


R — den Dulk, Kevin R.  2001.  “Proposing a Dissertation with a Free Rein.” PS: Political Science and Politics 34(4):  851-2.


R — Benesh, Sara C.  2001.  “The Key to a Successful Prospectus: Consult an Advisor, Early and Often.” PS: Political Science and Politics 34(4):  853-4.

R – Burawoy, Michael. 2005. “Combat in the Dissertation Zone.” The American Sociologist 36(2): 43-56.


R – Haggerty, Kevin D. 2010. “Tough Love: Professional Lessons for Graduate Students.” The American Sociologist 41:82–96.


OP – Ferrales, Gabrielle and Gary Alan Fine. 2005. “Sociology as a Vocation: Reputations and Group Cultures in Graduate School.” The American Sociologist 36(2): 57 – 75.




October 30


12:00 – 14:30

Framing research questions and problem statements to specific audience types  R — Thunder, David.  2004.  “Back to Basics: Twelve Rules for Writing a Publishable Article.”  PS: Political Science and Politics 37(3): 493-5.


R – Zigerell, L. J. 2013. “Rookie Mistakes: Preemptive Comments on Graduate Student Empirical Research Manuscripts.” PS: Political Science and Politics January: 142 – 146.


R — van Cott, Donna Lee. 2005.  “A Graduate Student’s Guide to Publishing Scholarly Journal Articles.”  PS: Political Science and Politics 38(4): 741-743.

R – Rich, Timothy S. 2013. “Publishing as a Graduate Student: A Quick and (Hopefully) Painless Guide to Establishing Yourself as a Scholar.” PS: Political Science and Politics April: 376 – 379.




November 6


12:00 – 14:30

Science Writing that Is Clear, Simple and Engaging R — Chapters 3, 4 and 18 from A Field Guide for Science Writers (2010)


November 13


12:00 – 14:30


Guest Lecture: Prof. Dr. Hab. Kazimierz M. Slomczynski

The Peer Review Process R — Polsky, Andrew J.  2007.  “Seeing Your Name in Print: Unpacking the Mysteries of the Review Process at Political Science Scholarly Journals.” PS: Political Science and Politics 40 (3):  539-43.


R – Miller et al. 2013. “How to Be a Peer Reviewer: A Guide for Recent and Soon-to-Be PhDs.” PS: Political Science and Politics January: 120 – 123.


OP – Donovan, Stephen K.  2011.  “Big Journals, Small Journals, and Two Peer Reviews.”  Journal of Scholarly Publishing. July.

OP —  Schneider, Joseph W.  1990.  “The Case of the ‘Unfair’ Review: Ethical issues from an Editor’s File.”  The American Sociologist, Spring.




November 20


12:00 – 14:30

How to Search for and Read Relevant Research Articles R — Jordan,  Christian H. and Mark P. Zanna. 1999.  How to Read a Journal Article in Social Psychology.


R – Bjork, Bo-Christer and Jonas Holmstrom. 2006. “Benchmarking Scientific Journals from the Submitting Author’s Viewpoint.” Learned Publishing 19: 147-155.


OP – Torres-Salinas et al. 2014. “Analyzing the Citation Characteristics of Books: Edited Books, Book Series and Publisher Types in the Book Citation Index.” Scientometrics 98: 2113-2127.



November 27


12:00 – 14:30

Grant finding and grant writing R — Przeworski, Adam and Frank Salomon.  1995.  On the Art of Writing Proposals: Some Candid Suggestions for Applicants to Social Science Research Council Competitions.  SSRC.


R — Henson, Kenneth T. 2003. “Debunking Some Myths about Grant Writing.” The Chronicle of Higher Education, June 26.


R — Moffat, Anne Simon. 1994. “Grantsmanship: what makes proposals work?” Science 265 (September 23).

9 December 412:00 – 14:30 Special Topic: Interdisciplinarity R — Jacobs, Jerry A. and Scott Frickel.  2009.  “Interdisciplinarity: A Critical Assessment.”  Annual Review of Sociology 35:43-65.R — Dubrow, Joshua Kjerulf.  2011. “Sociology and American Studies: A Case Study in the Limits of Interdisciplinarity.” The American Sociologist 42(4): 303-315.R — National Academies. 2004. Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research. Washington D.C.: National Academies Press. (selected chapters)OP – Jacobs, Jerry A. 2014. In Defense of Disciplines: Interdisciplinarity and Specialization in the Research University. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.


OP – Sigelman, Lee. 2010. “Terminological interchange between Sociology and Political Science.” Social Science Quarterly 91 (4):883-905.

10 December 1112:00 – 14:30 CV as Presentation of Self in Academic Life TBA
11 December 1612:00 – 14:30 How to Present Research in Public R — King, Charles.  2006. “Reforming the Conference Presentation, or What We Can Learn from Hollywood.” PS: Political Science and Politics 39(4): 875-77.R – Smith, David T and Rob Salmond. 2011. “Verbal Sticks and Rhetorical Stones: Improving Conference Presentations in Political Science.” PS: Political Science and Politics July: 583 – 588.R – Salmond, Rob and David T Smith. 2011. “Cheating Death-by-PowerPoint: Effective Use of Visual Aids at Professional Conferences.” PS: Political Science and Politics July: 589 – 596.
12 December 1812:00 – 14:30 Student Presentations None.