Syllabus 2011


697 Study at a Foreign Institution (15 Credit Hours)

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

4th Edition, Summer 2011

As part of this course, students will engage in (a) four weeks of intensive training and research in Warsaw, Poland (June 15 – July 14, 2011), and (b) individual Internet/personal consultations with the instructors upon their return to OSU (August).

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

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


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

Warsaw: Palac Staszica, Room 211
Columbus: 238 Townshend 

Time & Location:  
Lecture: 10:00 –11:10, Palac Staszica, Room 164 (except June 28 & 29 – room 154)
Computer Lab: 11:30 – 12:45, Palac Staszica, Room 122/24
Seminars: 14:30 – 16:00, Palac Staszica, Room 164 (except June 28 & 29 – room 154)

Computer Room (internet access): 122/24, 201


This course is designed to achieve two objectives. First, it aims at teaching students how to employ quantitative methods in social sciences 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 STATA. By the end of the course, you will know:

– How to use STATA 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; Crime and Society; Ethnic Minorities in CEE – The Roma.

Required Readings

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

Course Package: Readings 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 participation: Students 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.

Essay: To assess students’ knowledge of Central and Eastern Europe, students are required to write a short essay (min. 3- max. 5 pages, typed, double-spaced) that is grounded in lectures and readings on the social, political and cultural history of CEE between 1939 and 2011. Guidelines for the essay will be distributed during the Summer School. The essay is due on the last day of the Summer School.

Exam: In-class examination at the end of the Study abroad course. The exam consists of a combination of (a) multiple choice questions; (b) short answer questions, and (c) interpretation of statistical results from software output.

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 Wednesday, July 13, 2011. 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, 2011 (Final examinations for 2011 Summer quarter at OSU, main campus), and send it in electronically to


Grades will be based: 10% on class participation, 30% on the assignments, 10% on the essay, 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
A- 90-93
B+ 87-89
B  84-86
B- 80-83
C+ 77-79
C  74-76
C- 70-73
D+ 65-69
D  60-64
E (Failure)   59-0 

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, Wednesday:   
8:00 – 15:00 – Arrival  You will be met at the airport; transport to the Hotel Hera.  
17:00 – Orientation Meeting, in Hera  (Meeting Place: Lobby Hera)

June 16, Thursday:  
10:00 – 11:10 – Lecture & Discussion: Populations and Samples, Variables and their
Values, Organizing the Data
Room 164
READINGS: ESSR, Organizing the Data
11:30 – 12:30 – Computer Lab       Room 122
12:30 – 13:45 – Lunch (PANKLUB – Palac Staszica)
14:00 – 15:15 – World War Two and the Introduction of Communism in CEE Room 164
15:30 – 16:30 – Practical Orientation

June 17, Friday:  
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, Saturday:  
10:15 –  approx. 18:00 – Visit to Poltusk (60 km outside Warsaw);
Meeting Place: Lobby Hera

June 19, Sunday:   
10:30 – approx. 16:30 – Tour of Warsaw (Meeting Place: Lobby Hera)
18:40 – Dinner, Restaurant “Stary Dom” (Meeting Place: Lobby Hera)

June 20, Monday:  
10:00 – 11:10 – Lecture & Discussion: Measures of Variability
READINGS: ESSR, Measures of Variability
11:30 – 12:45 – Computer Lab
14:30 – 16:00 – Life under Communism, 1945 – 1989

June 21, Tuesday:  
10:00 – 11:10 – Lecture & Discussion: Probability Distributions
READINGS: ESSR, Probability and the Normal Curve
11:30 – 12:45 – Computer Lab
15:00 – 16:15 – Guest Lecture: Crime and Society (Dr. Anna Kiersztyn)

June 22, Wednesday:  
10:00 – 11:10 – Statistical Inference, Significance Tests
READINGS: ESSR, Samples and Populations
11:30 – 12:45 – Computer Lab; Assignment no. 1 due
*14:00 – 15:00 – Presentation by Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights
15:15 – 17:15 – Individual Consultations

June 23, Thursday:  
10:00 – 13:00 – Individual Consultations – Continued
14:30 – 16:00 – Individual Consultations – Continued

June 24, Friday – June 26, Sunday
Trip to Lodz.  Symposium – Study Tour 
Meet at 9:30 in the lobby of the Hera Hotel 
Accommodation: Hotel Polonia

June 27, Monday:  
10:00 – 11:10 –Lecture & Discussion: Testing Differences between Means
READINGS: ESSR, Testing Differences between Means;
11:30 – 12:45 – Computer Lab
14:30 – 16:00 – Transition from Communism to Post-Communism in CEE

June 28, Tuesday:  
10:00 – 11:10 – Lecture & Discussion: Analysis of Variance (ANOVA)   
Room 154!
READINGS: ESSR, Analysis of Variance
11:30 – 12:45 – Computer Lab
*14:30 – 16:00 – The Roma in Central and Eastern Europe
June 29, Wednesday:  
10:00 – 11:10 – Lecture & Discussion: Measures of Association; Contingency Tables Room 154!
11:30 – 12:45 – Computer Lab; 
13:45 – 15:00 – Visit to the European Union Office in Warsaw (Meeting Place: Entry Hall, IFiS)
16:00 – Working on Individual Projects and Assignments
June 30, Thursday:  
10:00 – 11:10 – Lecture & Discussion: Correlation and Regression, I
READINGS: ESSR, Correlation
11:00 –12:45 – Computer Lab; Assignment no. 2 due.
Departure to Krakow – Meet at 15:00 (3 pm) in the Entry Hall of IFiS

July 1, Friday: – July 3, Sunday:
In Krakow (Departure time from Krakow: 16:30)
Accommodation: Student Hotel Zaczek

July 4, Monday:   
10:00 – 11:10 – Lecture & Discussion: Correlation and Regression, II
READINGS: ESSR, Regression Analysis
11:30 – 12:45 – Computer Lab
14:30 – 16:00 – Social and Political Changes in CEE, 1989 to Present

July 5, Tuesday:   
10:00 – 11:15 – Lecture & Discussion: Advanced Statistical Analysis, I
11:30 – 12:45 – Computer Lab
13:00 – 14:15 – Lunch
14:30 – 16:00 – Individual Consultations

July 6, Wednesday:  
10:00 – 12:45 – Individual Consultations
14:30 – 16:00 – Individual Consultations
July 7, Thursday:  
10:00 – 11:15 – Lecture & Discussion: Advanced Statistical Analysis, II
11:30 – 12:45 – Computer Lab
14:30 – 16:00 – Guest Lecture Dr. Henryk Domanski, Director IFiS

July 8, Friday:   
10:00 – 11:10 – Quantitative Methods in Sociology: A Summary. Exam Review, Part I
11:30 – 12:45 – Computer Lab: Exam Review, Part I; Assignment no. 3 due.
14:30 – 16:00 – Discussion of Individual Projects

July 9, Saturday – July 10, Sunday: Free time

July 11, Monday:  
10:00 – 11:15 – Quantitative Methods in Sociology: A Summary. Exam Review, Part II
11:30 – 12:45 – Computer Lab: Exam Review, Part II
14:30 – 16:00 – Working on Individual Projects and Assignments

July 12, Tuesday:  
10:00 – 11:15 – Exam
14:00 – 16:00 – Meeting with Dr. William Brustein, Vice Provost for Global Strategies and International Affairs, OSU
18:00  Dinner; Meeting Place: TBA 

July 13, Wednesday:  
10:00 – 11:30 – Finalizing Individual Projects
11:45 – 12:30 – Summary Session
12:30 – 13:45 – Lunch
14:00 – 15:30 – Finalizing Individual Projects; Essay due; First version of Paper due

July 14, Thursday:

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