Criminal Justice 601
Dissertation Writing, Dissertation Psychology, and Pre-professionalization
Spring 2001

2/11/01 - I have started a list of issues to be discussed, organized by class date, and also have changed some of the assignments to be completed, effective this date moving forward. SEE ALSO a memos section I have started at the very bottom.
1/27/01 - posted - see links under resources - pdf files about a recent study done on problems in doctoral programs For more background go to

LOCATION: 5th Floor, Gladfelter Hall (room not yet assigned)
TIME: Mon. 3 - 5:30 pm
INSTRUCTOR: R. B. Taylor (please send all emails to

STATEMENT OF PURPOSE. This course serves one main purpose, and one auxiliary purpose. The first is to talk about how to approach the writing and the researching of topic for an extended paper, like a dissertation or a major literature review. This will get us into the psychology of writing as well as the mechanics. The first may be more important than the second. Further, we will talk about professional matters relevant to advanced doctoral students as they prepare for entry into the job market.

APPROACH. You are going to complete and write weekly assignments to serve the first purpose. To serve the auxiliary purpose you will be preparing a range of materials. We will meet weekly. In these meetings we will review the material you have prepared, talk about the next step in the writing process, and review professional matters.

The main topic on which you are working may not be in final form by the end of the semester, but it will be in close-to-final form. Your grade for the semester hinges on you completing the weekly assignments, and on turning in the close-to-final paper at the end of the semester. I also will give you some credit for participating in the professional side of the course

BOOKS (two of these are available through Amazon)

Becker, H.S. (1986) Writing for social scientists. Chicago: University of Chicago Press
Boice, R. (1992) The New faculty member . San Francisco: Jossey-Bass (out of print - you can borrow book IN THE OFFICE and make copies)
Lamott, A (1994) Bird by bird. New York: Anchor

Two of these books are about writing - one by a social scientist, one by a creative writer. I think you will find some of the commonalities pretty intriguing. The Boice book is about how to survive being a new faculty member.

NOTE: the readings are DUE the week they are listed. The ASSIGNMENTS are due the week AFTER they are described

NOTE: As a courtesy, please email the assignment to the instructor and your classmate(s) no later than 12 noon on Sundays.



READINGS -to be completed BY that week




IN-CLASS: The "rules;" finding research moving forward and backward - using the book and E version of SCI and SSCI;
ASSIGNMENT: follow an article that you think is probably moderately well known and is in an areas of interest; it should be from circa 1990; you follow it FORWARD - make a list of all subsequent pieces that CITED that piece. Also, pick one reference that was IN the piece you started with, and see how many other places also cited that same reference in the same year.


IN-CLASS: the perils of an all-e search approach; the writing process; all the problems with getting started. ASSIGNMENT. 2 pages: My biggest challenges in getting writing done are:

Becker, Ch. 1, Ch. 6
Lamott, 1-32, 110-130


IN-CLASS: what is necessary mentally, and ecologically, to develop a writing commitment?; putting the garbage out; the process of developing the trusted network; the norms; the size; ASSIGNMENT: Write a 2 page, single-spaced precis of the work you want to do being sure to address the purpose, the goals, the data, and the important questions. Ask someone to read it and talk to you about it. Bring the piece and the comments. Issues with colleagues on joint projects - guidelines. Problems of trust in academic departments. ALSO: start your idea note card file, and bring that

Becker Chs. 2-5
Lamott: 133-172


IN-CLASS: Doing a couple of second edits. Pointers from Becker and Lamott on how we write. Pointers from Lamott about the writing group. Who to include and who not to include. ASSIGNMENTS: (1) in class we will write out a schedule of writing time for the following week. You will be working on revising your precis. You will bring in the schedule and all the text that was done on the schedule. You also will report on the pairing of reinforcing activities with writing completion. (2) You also will start carrying around note cards. You will bring those in. (3) You will talk to people about your topic. Report on a couple of those conversations. Did they help? How? Do you want to keep that person in?

Becker Chs. 2-5
Lamott: 133-172



IN-CLASS: Issues in preparing to go on the market; resume, teaching portfolio; learning about the department; preparing the academic job talk; more second editing in class.

ASSIGNMENT: Prepare resume, teaching portfolio for one course; resume will include 100 word statement on dissertation

Platt, J. R. (1964) Strong inference. Science 146, 347-353.
Boice: 81-106; 161-206
Lamott: intro, 172-182

TCHE articles on the academic job interview process


IN-CLASS: resume review; talking about problems that will come up during the job talk and the interview generally; getting prepared on all three fronts - service, teaching, and research; identifying data sources; primary vs. secondary analysis; preparing to go to a specific department/organization - what are the steps? ASSIGNMENT: Five page statement of the problem being sure to include the strong inference aspects, with attention to issues of theory, policy, and practice. In addition, an annotated bibliography of at least 20 sources with just one sentence for each article on the most important way that article is relevant to your dissertation topic.




IN-CLASS - reviewing in class the material you have provided; ASSIGNMENT - revise outline

Becker, Chs. 3, 4


IN-CLASS: review revised materials; orientation to bibliography tools - ENDNOTE

Becker, Chs. 8,9


IN-CLASS - Orientation to preparing the article for submission. ASSIGNMENT: write a cover letter for a submission

Becker, Ch. 7.


IN-CLASS: Responding to reviews. ASSIGNMENT: write a reply to an editorial decision



IN-CLASS: more on Endnote



IN-CLASS: Preparing proposals - the protocol - gov. agencies, state agencies, foundations



ASSIGNMENT: Detailed idea piece/lit review and complete bibliography due






10% In-class participation defined as being ready for class, having done the readings, being prepared to discuss them, and, if required, having read the work of your classmates.

30% Turning in the weekly assignments (aside from interim/final big pieces.

20% Turning in interim outline of acceptable quality

40% Turning in the final idea piece/lit review


Two files describing problems with doctoral education
The main study- pdf file - real big - you may NOT want to print out
Extra web tables

Leaving the field - reasons and responses

Professional tips from the Chronicle of Higher Education. These are links to

Friday, May 19, 2000 When You Want to Stay on Campus (and You Don't Want to Teach) By MARY MORRIS HEIBERGER and JULIA MILLER VICK


Friday, June 16, 2000 Used Up and Burned Out By MARY MORRIS HEIBERGER and JULIA MILLER VICK


Friday, July 14, 2000 Is It OK to Leave for Another Tenure-Track Job? By MARY MORRIS HEIBERGER and JULIA MILLER VICK


Friday, August 11, 2000 Should I Tell Them? By MARY MORRIS HEIBERGER and JULIA MILLER VICK


Friday, September 22, 2000 Coping With Chronic Illness WhenYou're on the Job Market By MARY MORRIS HEIBERGER and JULIA MILLER VICK


Friday, October 20, 2000 The C.V. Doctor Returns By MARY MORRIS HEIBERGER and JULIA MILLERVICK


Friday, November 10, 2000 The 80/20 Rule and Other Real-World Phenomena By ROBIN WAGNER


Friday, November 17, 2000 Why More and More Ph.D.'s Are Turning to Consulting By MARY MORRIS HEIBERGER and JULIA MILLER VICK


Friday, December 8, 2000 The Secret to a Successful Job Interview By ROBIN WAGNER


Friday, December 15, 2000 Interviewing Before You're Invited to Campus By MARY MORRIS HEIBERGER and JULIA MILLER VICK


Friday, January 26, 2001 Getting (Most of) What You Want By MARY MORRIS HEIBERGER and JULIA MILLER VICK


Friday, February 2, 2001 Getting Great Letters of Recommendation By RICHARD M. REIS


Friday, February 23, 2001 How To Be Your Own Worst Enemy on the Job Market By MARY MORRIS HEIBERGER and JULIA MILLER VICK


August 28, 1998 Do I Need My Own Web Page? By MARY MORRIS HEIBERGER and JULIA MILLER VICK


September 18, 1998 How important are letters of recommendation? By MARY MORRIS HEIBERGER and JULIA MILLER VICK


Friday, November 13, 1998 Career Talk: How To Get the Most Out of Conventions By MARY HEIBERGER and JULIA MILLER VICK


Friday, December 11, 1998 What to Do When They Say, 'Tell Us About Your Research' By MARY HEIBERGER and JULIA MILLER VICK


Friday, January 22, 1999 How To Handle Difficult Interview Questions. By MARY HEIBERGER and JULIA MILLER VICK


Friday, February 19, 1999 Making the Most of Your Campus Interview By MARY HEIBERGER and JULIA MILLER VICK


Friday, April 9, 1999 Deprogramming From the Academic Cult By MARGARET NEWHOUSE


Friday, April 16, 1999 What to Do When You Don't Get the Job By MARY HEIBERGER and JULIA MILLER VICK


Friday, May 14, 1999 You Got the Job -- Now What? By MARY HEIBERGER and JULIA MILLER VICK


Friday, June 11, 1999 Deciding Whether to Shoot for a Job in Academe By MARY HEIBERGER and JULIA MILLER VICK


Friday, July 9, 1999 Why Didn't I Hear From the Search Committee, and Other Questions By MARY HEIBERGER and JULIA MILLER VICK


Friday, September 17, 1999 The CV Doctor By MARY HEIBERGER and JULIA MILLER VICK


Several chronicle articles about racial preferences and hiring and admissions. BEWARE: this is a large file - about 1.6 meg - it is a PDF file for acrobat reader




2/11/01. I have bumped into what looks to be an extremely helpful book Bolker, J. (1998) WRITING YOUR DISSERTATION IN FIFTEEN MINUTES A DAY. New York: Holt. Here is why I think it is helpful (1) It makes the point, as does Lamott, that you need to do the actual writing every day. And, to encourage you in that direction, it suggests you set goals on a week-by-week basis that you are sure you can achieve. So for this week going forth you might set the goal: I will write for ten minutes each day.