Draft: Jan 6, 2021

Sociology 385B, Second Year Research Practicum, part 2                                         

Winter, 2021




For Winter:

Class meets every other Monday, 11:30-12:50 on Zoom. See Canvas for the Zoom address


My office hour:

Mondays, 3:30-4:30


Professor Michael Rosenfeld

Email: mrosenfe@stanford.edu



We will meet every other Monday. This class has two goals:

1) To help you learn how to turn your current research project into an excellent second year paper, and eventually into a published paper.

2) To learn tricks of the trade by careful study of a published journal article that you will pick as your guide star paper for the two quarters. Please pick a published journal article that has some similarity (methodologically or substantively) to your intended project. Please select a guide star paper published after 2000, as we want to capture current norms and expectations in the journals.


Assignments: For some assignments, you both perform the assignment, and you will be graded on your feedback of another studentís assignment. Because most assignments have a component of students evaluating each othersí work, no late assignments can be accepted. This class is all about working on your paper writing process; you are not expected to have a finished product, but you must produce your work-in-progress on time and on deadline.


Students with Disabilities:

Students with disabilities that may necessitate an academic accommodation must initiate a request with the Office of Accessible Education.  See the website https://oae.stanford.edu/, or call (650) 723-1066 voice (650) 723-1067 TTY



We will endeavor to tackle your second year paper piece by piece (motivating question, literature review, data, methods, results, conclusions) by also looking at how the author(s) of your guide star paper tackled the same issues.


Required Reading (on reserve at Green library)

*Becker, Howard S. and Pamela Richards. 2007 [1986]. Writing for Social Scientists. University of Chicago Press. ISBN-10: 0226041328




Class date


Due Date/ Class date



Class Participation

Every class

10 points in 385B

First class

Talk about the plan of Soc 385B

Monday, Jan 11



Describe your data (as it is now and as it will be when you are done collecting it): where does it come from? What is the sample universe (that is what is the target population your data comes from and can be generalized to)? Make a simple table, a bivariate analysis (or some first-order analysis appropriate to your data, methods, and question), to show how your data can address the main question of your paper (and remind readers what your main question is). Separately, write a one page analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the data your guide star paper uses, and how well or poorly your guide star paper leverages the strengths and explains the weaknesses of its data.

Wednesday, Jan 20



Comment on another studentís preliminary data report and (if you can) on their assessment of the guide star paperís data explanation

Friday, Jan 22


Second class

Each student presents their data and their preliminary analysis, and their evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of how their guide star paper uses and explains its data.

Mon, Jan 25



A deep dive into the methods and results section of your guide star paper. Are the results believable and well explained? Is their method well enough explained, or do they obfuscate in some places? Could you replicate their results based on what is in the paper, or is there additional information you would need? If the guide star paper uses publicly available data, try (at a first approximation) to replicate some part of their results. If the authors published appendices or supplementary information, what do the appendices and the supplementary information show? Feel free to email the authors of your guide star paper and ask them questions or better yet, ask them for a replication package.

Wednesday, Feb 3



Comment on another studentís evaluation of their guide star paperís data, methodology, and results

Friday, Feb 5


Third class

Present your evaluation and critique of the guide star paperís data, method, and results

Monday, Feb 8



Your data and methods and results, part II. To your first-order analysis, add a second (multivariable or more complex as appropriate) analysis, using the tool set that will be your main tool set for the paper. Append the data, methods, and preliminary results to your pre-existing introduction, literature review, and main idea.

Wednesday, Feb 17



Comment on another studentís data, methods, and results.

Friday, Feb 19


Fourth class

Each student presents on their data, methods, and results

Monday, Feb 22



Take the feedback you have received and rewrite your paper for consistency and tone into a full paper draft. Add an abstract and a conclusion. Make sure that the main idea of your paper is highlighted in each section. In a separate, one-page memo, comment on the consistency of argument (and evidence supporting the main point or lack thereof) in your guide star paper.

Wednesday, March 3



Comment on another studentís rough draft paper. Also comment (if you can) on their evaluation of their draft paperís consistency of argument.

Friday, March 5


Fifth Class

Give an ASA style presentation of your paper.

Monday, March 8



Point total for Fall quarter: