Posts Tagged ‘methods’

Request for Proposals (AMSR)

May 2, 2016

The 3-0-3 Foundation announces a call for research proposals on any subject of sociological importance. Applied as well as basic research proposals are welcome, but all proposals should make a contribution to sociological knowledge. Although a complete literature review is not required, all research questions and hypotheses should be grounded in relevant theoretical and empirical work.


Schedule for Proposal Preparation

  • General topic area (“theme”) must be declared by each applicant three weeks after release of this announcement (the first day of class).
  • A focused subject within that topic must be declared by 6 weeks after the release of this announcement.
  • A draft of the proposal (outline here) must be submitted by approximately 13 weeks after the release of this announcement.
  • The final proposal must be submitted approximately 15 weeks after the release of this announcement. This proposal must incorporate the feedback you have received on your draft proposal.


Exact dates will be announced by your program manager.

Except in the case of documented medical or similar issues, under no circumstances will late submissions be accepted and program managers reserve the exclusive right to determine if lateness will be allowed and what penalty will be given. Please note that technical problems (such as faulty computers or lost files) are not acceptable reasons for lateness. Applicants are solely responsible for insuring that they have adequate backup procedures and time for use of campus computers. All work must be the applicant’s own. Lehman College rules on intellectual honesty must be followed.


Standards for Evaluation

Proposals on all sociological subjects are welcome and any social science research method may be used. Some characteristics of past strong proposals have been:

  • a clearly defined and important sociological topic
  • hypotheses or research questions that are grounded in the scholarly literature
  • a clear explanation of the proposed research, including as much detail as possible (see the link to the proposal outline above)
  • strong justification of the choices made especially in terms of method, measurement, and sampling
  • a realistic research plan given time and budget constraints
  • a thorough discussion of ethical issues
  • good writing in terms of both mechanics and organization.


Technical Guidelines

  • Proposals should be no longer than 2500 words, not including title page, abstract, table of contents, references, and any appendices, and must be double-spaced, stapled, and written in 12-point font. Proposals that fail to meet these requirements will be returned without comment to the author.
  • References and citations must be presented using American Sociological Association style.
  • Relevant materials vis-à-vis research ethics and Institutional Review Board guidelines must be submitted as an appendix to the proposal. (For example, these would usually include a proposed informed consent form).
  • Other appendices may include, but are not limited to, surveys, interview schedules, background statistics, and letters of support from collaborators.
  • Submissions must be made using the Blackboard system. Detailed instructions for submission will be available within Blackboard.


Your program manager will inform you of any other details.


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.