Syllabus 2010

Download the Revised Syllabus 2010

697 Study at a Foreign Institution (15 Credit Hours)

Central and Eastern Europe in Comparative Perspective: Assessing Social and Political Change

3rd Edition, Summer 2010

As part of this course, students will engage in (a) four weeks of intensive training and research in Warsaw, Poland (June 15 – July 14, 2010), and (b) individual Internet/personal consultations with the instructors upon their return to OSU (August). 

Instructors:                Kazimierz M. Slomczynski, Irina Tomescu-Dubrow and Joshua Kjerulf Dubrow

Office Hours:             Tuesday & Thursday 1:30-3:30

Email:               ,,

Voice messages:         Warsaw: (22) 657 2755, Columbus: (614) 292-8078

Mailbox:                     Warsaw: Palac Staszica, Room 211, Columbus: 238 Townshend  


Time & Location:      Lecture: 10:00 –11:10, Palac Staszica, Room 164

                                               Computer Lab: 11:30 – 12:45, Palac Staszica, Room 201

                                               Seminars: 14:30 – 16:00, Palac Staszica, Room 164  

Computer Room (internet access): Rooms 122/124, 201 


This course is designed to achieve two objectives. First, it aims at teaching students how to employ quantitative methods in sociology to get an in-depth understanding of social and political change in Central and Eastern Europe. Relying on the Polish Panel Survey 1988-2003 (POLPAN), you will learn how to apply basic concepts in statistics to substantive problems of the post-communist transformation in Poland using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). By the end of the course, you will know:  

–  How to use SPSS for data analysis;

–  How to describe variables (distribution shapes, central tendencies, range and dispersions of single variable);

–  How to assess relationships between variables (cross-tabulation, correlation, linear regression, comparisons of summary statistics across groups);

–  How to interpret research findings (samples and populations, confidence intervals, hypothesis testing, understanding “statistical significance”). 

The second objective of the course is to give students a comprehensive understanding of the research strategies and empirical findings pertaining to the political, economic and cultural systems of Central and East European societies.  As part of the training, you will learn how to develop your own research paper on a substantive issue of your choice dealing with the post-communist transformation.  


1) Methodological:

The Nature of Social Research; Descriptive Statistics: Measures of Central Tendency and Variability; Probability Distributions; Samples and Populations; Statistical Inference: Testing Differences Between Means; Comparing Groups: Analysis of Variance Comparisons of Two Groups; Correlation and Linear Regression; Introduction to Multivariate Relationships; Advanced Topics. 

2) Substantive:

Historical Context of Central and East European Socialism; Social and Political Change after 1989: from Where to Where; Class Divisions and Structured Inequality; Stratification; Voting Behavior, Democracy and Democratic Values; Institutional Attitudes related to Politics, the State, and the Catholic Church.

Required Readings 

Levin, Jack and James Alan Fox. Elementary Statistics in Social Research. The Essentials (2nd or 3rd Edition) – hereafter, ESSR

Course Package: A special packet will be prepared and distributed using materials from various U.S. and Polish sources.  Example of these sources include: Gale Stokes, ed., From Stalinism to Pluralism:  A Documentary History of Eastern Europe since 1945, Oxford University Press, 1991; M. F. Goldman, Russia, the Eurasian Republics, and Central/Eastern Europe. Dushkin Publishing Group, 1992-2004 (5th and later editions); Ch. G. A. Bryant and E. Mokrzycki, eds. The New Great Transformation? Change and Continuity in East-Central Europe (Routledge, 1994); J. R. Kluegel, D. S. Mason, and B. Wegener, eds., Social Justice and Political Change: Public Opinion in Capitalist and Post-Communist States (De Gruyter, 1995); K. M. Slomczynski, ed., Social Patterns of Being Political (IFiS, 2000); K. M. Slomczynski, ed., Social Structure: Changes and Linkages (IFiS, 2002). K. M. Slomczynski and S.T. Marquart-Pyatt, eds., Continuity and Change in Social Life (IFiS, 2007). 

Course Requirements

Class participationStudents have to be prepared to discuss the assigned readings on their due date, and to actively participate in class discussions during lecture, as well as during recitation.    

Three Assignments: Assignments will be distributed throughout the course, and will include a combination of problem solving (hand and computer calculations) and interpretation of the results.  Your assignments will correspond to the choice of your variables for the topic of interest that you would further develop into the term paper.  You need to turn them in on the due date, at the beginning of recitation. While studying with another student is permitted and even encouraged, you need to write the answers in your own words.  

Exam: In-class examination at the end of the Study abroad course, requiring solving of a set of practical problems using SPSS on the POLPAN data. You will have to run basic analyses covered during the course, print the output, and briefly interpret your statistical results.  

Research Paper: The preparation of the research paper is a two-stage stage process. During your stay in Warsaw you will identify the problem of your interest, the basic literature on this topic, the corresponding Dependent and Independent Variables in the POLPAN data set, and perform the initial analyses applying the learned methodology. A first version of your paper (hypotheses and analyses) needs to be turned in on Tuesday, July 13, 2010. Instructors will comment on your work, and help you with developing the plan for the final version of the paper. 

You need to complete the final version of your term paper no later than August 25, 2010 (Final examinations for 2010 Summer quarter at OSU, main campus), and send it in electronically to 


Grades will be based: 10% on class participation, 30% on the assignments, 20% on the exam, and 30% on the term paper (10% for the first version; 20% for the final version).

Grading points

   A     94-100   B+  87-89   C+ 77-79   D+ 65-69   F   59-0
  A-    90-93   B    84-86   C 74-76   D 60-64  
    B- 80-83   C- 70-73    

Class Policies 

Attendance is mandatory for lecture, seminars, and recitation sessions. 10% of your grade is made up of attendance and class participation.  You are responsible for all announcements made, handouts distributed, and material discussed during lectures, seminars, and recitations.   

Exam Make-Ups: Except for extreme circumstances, there will be no make-up for the assignments and/or exam. If you miss the exam for a legitimate reason (documented) there will be a chance to make up the missed credit.     

Academic Misconduct: The University’s Code of Student Conduct defines academic misconduct as “[a]ny activity that tends to compromise the academic integrity of the University, or subvert the educational process.” While many people associate academic misconduct with only “cheating,” academic misconduct actually includes a wider scope of student behaviors, which include (but are not limited to): violation of program or course rules and regulations; knowingly providing or receiving information during an exam (this includes providing information on exam questions for make-ups); possession and/or use of unauthorized materials during an exam; submitting plagiarized work for a course assignment; falsification, fabrication, or dishonesty in reporting laboratory (research) results; serving as or asking another student to serve as a substitute (a ‘ringer’) while taking an exam; alteration of grades in an effort to change earned credit or a grade; and alteration and/or unauthorized use of University forms.

Course Outline

The dates that are provided here are tentative and could change depending on how this class proceeds.  Any changes in dates, including changes in exam dates will be announced in class.  You are responsible for finding out about any announcements made in class and recitation.  Please read the assigned readings before the lecture in which they will be discussed.

June 15, Tuesday:   8:00 – 15:00 –  Arrival  You will be met at the airport; transport to the Hotel Hera.  

16:30 – Orientation Meeting, in Hera 

June 16, Wednesday:  10:00 – 11:10 – Lecture & Discussion: Populations and Samples, Variables and their Values, Organizing the Data
   READINGS: ESSR, Organizing the Data
11:30 – 12:30 – Computer Lab
12:30 – 13:45 – Lunch (PANKLUB – Palac Staszica)
14:00 – 15:15 – Historical Context of Central and East European Communism
15:30 – 16:30 – Practical Orientation

June 17, Thursday:  10:00 – 10:30 – Polish Panel Survey, POLPAN 1988-2008
10:30 – 11:15 – Lecture & Discussion: Measures of Central Tendency
   READINGS: ESSR, Measures of Central Tendency
11:30 – 12:45 – Computer Lab
14:00 – Visit to the Warsaw Uprising Museum (Meeting Place: Entry Hall, IFiS)

June 18, Friday:  10:00 – 11:10 – Lecture & Discussion: Measures of Variability
   READINGS: ESSR, Measures of Variability
11:30 – 12:45 – Computer Lab
14:00 – Tour of Warsaw (Meeting Place: Entry Hall, IFiS)

June 19, Saturday:  9:30 – 18:30 – Visit to the city of Kazimierz (Meeting Place: Lobby Hera).

June 20, Sunday:   10:00–14:00– Visit to Wilanow (Meeting Place: Lobby Hera)
18:40 – Dinner, Restaurant “Stary Dom” (Meeting Place: Lobby Hera)

June 21, Monday:  10:00 – 11:10 – Lecture & Discussion: Probability Distributions
   READINGS: ESSR, Probability and the Normal Curve
11:30 – 12:45 – Computer Lab
14:30 – 16:00 – Social and Political Change after 1989: from Where to Where

June 22, Tuesday:  10:00 – 11:10 – Statistical Inference, Significance Tests
   READINGS: ESSR, Samples and Populations
11:30 – 12:45 – Computer Lab
 14:30 – 16:00 – The Roma in Central and Eastern Europe (I. Tomescu-Dubrow)

June 23, Wednesday:  10:00 – 11:30 – Presentation by Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights Room 200, Palac Staszica

11:45 – 12:45 – Lecture & Discussion: Testing Differences between Means
   READINGS: ESSR, Testing Differences between Means
14:00 – 15:00– Computer Lab; Assignment no. 1 due.  
15:15 – 17:15 – Individual Consultations

June 24, Thursday:  10:00 – 13:00 – Individual Consultations – Continued
14:30 – 16:00 – Visit to the European Union Office in Warsaw

 June 25, Friday – June 27, Sunday:  Trip to Lodz.  Symposium – Study Tour 
   Departure Time from Warsaw: 11:15 (Meeting Place: Hera Lobby)
Accommodation: Hotel Polonia

July 28, Monday:  10:00 – 11:10 – Lecture & Discussion: Analysis of Variance (ANOVA)
   READINGS: ESSR, Analysis of Variance
11:30 – 12:45 – Computer Lab
14:30 – 16:00 – Institutional Attitudes related to Politics, the State, and the Catholic Church
June 29, Tuesday:  10:00 – 11:10 – Lecture & Discussion: Measures of Association; Contingency Tables
   11:30 – 12:45 – Computer Lab
   14:30 – 15:45 – Guest Lecture: Crime and Society (Dr. Anna Kiersztyn)
Optional:  17:00 – 18:30 – “Social Structure and Personality During Radical Economic Transformations: A Comparison of China to Poland and Ukraine.” Prof. Melvin L. Kohn, Johns Hopkins University  Room 200, Palace Staszica

June 30, Wednesday:  10:00 – 11:10 – Lecture & Discussion: Correlation and Regression, I

   READINGS: ESSR, Correlation
11:30 – 12:45 – Computer Lab; 
14:30 – 16:00 – Working on Individual Projects and Assignments
July 1, Thursday:  10:00 – 11:10 – Lecture & Discussion: Correlation and Regression, II
   READINGS: ESSR, Regression Analysis
11:00 –12:45 – Computer Lab;  Assignment no. 2 due.

Optional: 13:00 – “Hate Crimes and Migrant Labour: a Case Study of Attacks on Polish migrants in the UK.” Dr. Paul Ignaski, Lancaster University, UK.  Room 200, Palac Staszica

Departure to Krakow – Meet at 15:00 (3 pm) in the Entry Hall of IFiS

July 2, Friday: – July 4, Sunday: Trip to Krakow (Departure time from Krakow: 16:30)
Accommodation: Student Hotel Żaczek

July 5, Monday:   10:00 – 11:10 – Lecture & Discussion: Advanced Statistical Analysis, I
11:30 – 12:45 – Computer Lab
14:30 – 15:30 – Guest Lecture Professor Henryk Domanski, Director IFiS

July 6, Tuesday:   10:00 – 11:15 – Lecture & Discussion: Advanced Statistical Analysis, II
11:30 – 12:45 – Computer Lab
13:00 – 14:00 Lunch
14:30 – 16:00 Individual Consultations

July 7, Wednesday:  10:00 – 12:45 – Individual Consultations
14:30 – 16:00 – Democracy and Democratic Values

July 8, Thursday:  10:00 – 11:10 – Quantitative Methods in Sociology: A Summary. Exam Review, Part I
11:30 – 12:45 – Computer Lab: Exam Review, Part I
14:30 – 16:00 – Working on Individual Projects and Assignments

July 9, Friday:   10:00 – 11:15 – Quantitative Methods in Sociology: A Summary. Exam Review, Part II
11:30 – 12:45 – Computer Lab: Exam Review, Part II Assignment no. 3 due.
14:30 – 16:00 – Discussion of Individual Projects

July 10, Saturday – July 11, Sunday: Free time

July 12, Monday:  10:00 – 11:15 – Exam
13:30 – 15:30 – Finalizing Individual Projects
18:45  Dinner; Meeting Place: Lobby Hera 

July 13, Tuesday:  10:30 – 11:15 – Summary Session
12:30 – 13:45 – Lunch
13:30 – 15:30 – Finalizing Individual Projects; First version of Paper due 

July 14, Wednesday:  Departures

August 25, Wednesday, by 4 PM: Final Paper due, via email to