Archive for September, 2015

For Friday, 10/2

September 18, 2015

Here’s what my graph from the Manifest Content Analysis lab looked like:

image (1)

One big question for me is whether I my search in SocIndex and Social Sciences Full Text were as similar as they should have been to the JSTOR search (I belatedly realised that SSFT has an option to restrict searches to English; when I selected that option, as well as ‘TX All Fields’ for my keyword, I got zero results in 2002…). Anyway, on with the shew:


  • HW: Take this opportunity to catch up if you haven’t turned everything in yet.
  • Schutt Chapter 14 [Chambliss and Schutt, Chapter 4]
  • Patten (2014), Topics 19-21
  • Michael I. Norton and Dan Ariely, ‘Building a Better America–One Wealth Quintile at a Time’ Perspectives on Psychological Science 6(1):9-12 (2011)


  1. Quiz: ASA Style
  2. Presentations, cont’d: Model Proposals #3, 6, and 7
  3. BREAK (we might break later instead–before the lab, for example)
  4. Measurement of Race/Building a Better America
  5. Validity
  6. Reliability
  7. Percents Handout
  8. Lab: Impact of Question Wording (approx. 2:30pm)


  • HW: TBA Survey Research Reverse Proposal Outline

When and Where I Enter: On Reviewing a Literature

September 14, 2015

Imagine that you enter a parlor. You come late. When you arrive, others have long preceded you, and they are engaged in a heated discussion, a discussion too heated for them to pause and tell you exactly what it is about. In fact, the discussion had already begun long before any of them got there, so that no one present is qualified to retrace for you all the steps that had gone before. You listen for a while, until you decide that you have caught the tenor of the argument; then you put in your oar. Someone answers; you answer him; another comes to your defense; another aligns himself against you, to either the embarrassment or gratification of your opponent, depending upon the quality of your ally’s assistance. However, the discussion is interminable. The hour grows late, you must depart. And you do depart, with the discussion still vigorously in progress — Kenneth Burke, The Philosophy of Literary Form, pp. 110-111.*

I’ve touched on the subject of literature reviews before in at least one previous post, but I’m going to try to centralize a number of disparate sources and bits of advice here. This is a post that should grow quite a bit over the next few days weeks months years…

Further Reading/Notes Toward a Personal Canon

Booth, Wayne, Gregory Colomb, & Joseph M. Williams. 2008. The Craft of Research, 3rd Ed. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Chisholm, Chad. 2017. ‘The Rhetoric of an Excellent Essay’. Intercollegiate Review, 7 April. More on the research literature on a given topic as a Great Conversation, with an extremely helpful introduction to the fundamentals of Roman rhetoric to boot!

Google Scholar. As Rossman (2010) notes, Google Scholar is good at giving you a sense of the ‘invisible college’, but is not as helpful in directing you to good theory.

‘Literature Reviews’. n.d. Purdue Online Writing Lab. Retrieved 16 September 2015 (

Mills, C. Wright. 1959. ‘On Intellectual Craftsmanship’. Appendix to The Sociological Imagination. Oxford University Press. Very tempting to interpret all of Mills’ talk about ‘craftsmanship’ and the ‘mature workman’ (p. 197) in terms of his blue-collar origins, but that’s a story for another time. A widely cited classic.

Patten, Mildred L. 2014. Proposing Empirical Research: A Guide to the Fundamentals, 5th Ed. Pyrczak Publishing. Topic 8 (‘Finding Ideas in the Literature’ will help you build on existing research; Topics 19 (‘Organizing Literature by Topics’), 20 (‘Evaluating Research Literature’), and especially 21 (‘Considering the History of a Topic’) are all chock-full of great advice; use Topics 22-26 to help you with the actual writing.

Rossman, Gabriel. 2010. How to Review a LiteratureCode and Culture: Stata, Sociology, and Diffusion Models, 7 September 2010. Retrieved 14 September 2015. See especially the tips on how to ‘snowball forward’ and ‘snowball backward’!

Sociological Abstracts. See again Rossman (2010).


Burke, Kenneth. The Philosophy of Literary Form. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1941. *I found the Burke quote  here — but I only got there because of this great little essay on how the Trump administration might have avoided its recent immigration travel ban woes if someone had learned the basic readin’, writin’, and researchin’ skills that are a core part of any decent college course.

For Friday, 9/18

September 11, 2015

If you know that you’re coming late, or have to leave early, or have to take an important phone call/text message, please let me know ahead of time. That’s just common courtesy—and common courtesy is an important component of your class participation grade.


  • HW due: Annotated Bibliography assignment. This is on Bb; click on the ‘Proposal Work’ sidebar.
  • Schutt (2015), Chapter 9 [Chambliss and Schutt, Chapter 8 and Appendix A]
  • Gabriel Rossman, ‘How to Review a Literature’
  • Patten (2014), Topic 8 (‘Finding Ideas in the Literature’)
  • Patten (2014), Topic 9 (‘Considering a Body of Literature’)
  • Patten (2014), Topic 10 (‘Considering Theories’)


  1. Review: Content Analysis. If I’m still busy setting up at 1pm, just begin the lab (see #2 below). You can pause and save your work when we stop to discuss class business (e.g., ‘Are you getting updates every time I edit a post on the blog?’) and review the method.
  2. Lab: Manifest Content Lab. You’ll need the five keywords that you generated from last week’s freewriting exercise.
  3. Presentations, cont’d: Model Proposals #3, 6, and 7
  4. Quiz: ASA Style


  • HW: TBA


On Choosing a Research Topic

September 10, 2015

When it comes to advice on choosing research topics, opinions are like kittens—people give ’em away. (I never tire of quoting that line from Modest Mouse.) Here are a couple of the best:

  • I never met Charles Tilly; by all accounts, he was an extremely generous mentor as well as a world-class scholar. Here is one byproduct of that generosity. It’s a PowerPoint presentation on choosing a dissertation topic, but it applies to the choice of research topics above as well as below that level.
  • Here’s another link to Professor Elin Waring’s advice on the subject.
  • More to come…

For Friday, 9/11

September 4, 2015

There are a few updates still to come, but here’s what we’ve got so far. Stay tuned to this space…


  1. HW due: Proposal Outline for Reverse Outlining Assignments (Note: I would prefer that you use the article on ‘Gender Differences in Physical Education Textbooks in Spain’, but if you’ve already begun to work on the other article, then go ahead).
  2. Schutt, Chapter 4, and Appendices A and B
 (Chambliss and Schutt Chapter 2 and 307-312; here’s a usefully concise online version of much the same kind of advice about reading academic articles)
  3. Patten (2014), Topics 2-3


  1. A moment of silence…
  2. Presentations (cont’d): Model Proposals 1, 3, 5-9. Be prepared this time.
  3. Lab: Research Statements


  1. HW: TBA