Manuscripts of all types of sociological scholarship are welcome, including but not restricted to interview-based and observational ethnography, comparative historical analysis, lab and field experiments, computational modeling and simulation, textual analysis, formal theory, and quantitative statistical analyses.
Sociological Science does not have page or word count limits. However, it is the editorial staff’s firm belief that readers value brevity in all types of scholarship. The main body of a manuscript should be as concise as possible. Relevant past research should be incorporated where appropriate in the introduction and motivation of the manuscript, but long and/or unconnected reviews of the literature will lower the odds of acceptance at Sociological Science. Purely symbolic citations are strongly discouraged.
Manuscripts that propose new theoretical ideas are welcome, and these articles need not include empirical results of any form.
Manuscripts that offer causal claims based on empirical analyses should clearly state the assumptions required to warrant causal interpretations.
Manuscripts that document interesting facts and novel empirical patterns from the standpoint of existing sociological knowledge are welcome. Such findings can be of interest either because they speak to (and perhaps invalidate) long-held assumptions or findings in a field or sub-field, or because they are puzzling relative to existing understandings.
Manuscripts that engage in informative replication or informative falsification are welcome. Studies reporting such results will be judged by their contribution to improving the existing base of knowledge in the social sciences.
All theoretical arguments should be presented in such a way that the logical validity of the argument can be easily assessed. Propositions should be derived from explicitly stated assumptions, and the editorial staff of Sociological Science encourages but does not require that authors offer a formalization of the argument.
Formal models that claim to identify necessary or sufficient conditions for the production of an outcome of interest should include the proofs supporting any such claims, including computer code if those proofs involve simulation. All computer code submitted for review (and possible publication) should be annotated so that its logic is clear.
Methods and Design Considerations for Empirical Research
The design and procedures (e.g., experimental protocols, sample definitions, questionnaire wording, interview schedules, coding decisions, etc.) of any piece of empirical analysis should be described in sufficient detail to allow other scholars to replicate them. Such material is best placed within appendices. Authors should err on the side of showing more information than necessary.
Empirical studies may be based on descriptive rather than causal claims as long as the described phenomenon is of sufficient sociological importance. For manuscripts that offer descriptive claims only, verbs such as “affect,” “determine,” “influence,” “shape,” and the like, should be avoided when describing and interpreting associations.
Authors who offer causal claims should clearly state the assumptions that must be maintained to warrant these claims, and they should recognize that such assumptions are best conveyed using a formal apparatus of some form (i.e., a causal graph, a set of equations that convey claims of conditional independence, or any written syntax that conveys the equivalent information). Authors will not be penalized for such clarity, and the editorial staff is well aware that all causal claims rest on assumptions that are open to debate and are likely to be questioned by fair critics.
Studies that rely on non-representative samples of the population of interest are acceptable. Authors must provide a clear justification for the sampling strategy or cases chosen, based on appropriateness for the research question and methods of analysis. Authors should explain how the loss in external validity is offset by gains in internal validity or richness of insight, and discuss how the non-representative nature of the sample may impact the conclusions reached.
Presentation of Qualitative Evidence
Although brevity is valued, Sociological Science is also appropriate for pieces that require a more extended format than conventional print journals can offer. The rich contextual and documentary information that characterizes the best qualitative research can be published in full detail in Sociological Science.
The field site and timing of the fieldwork should be described in sufficient detail that the reader can understand the context in which questions were posed, answered and recorded, and/or where interactions were observed. Authors should provide information on how the qualitative data were analyzed (e.g., coding schemes, use of multiple coders, etc.).
Direct quotes should be used only when a respondent’s statement has been recorded verbatim. Manuscripts that use direct quotes should, when possible, include the questions posed by the interviewer.
Manuscripts should indicate the extent to which anonymity has been granted and delivered to study subjects. Manuscripts should also discuss whether study subjects were allowed to read and give comments on drafts of the manuscript. Authors should disclose if they have changed or excluded any evidence in order to protect subjects from identification or distress.
Archival sources, if any, should also be described in detail, and their known or likely biases discussed.
Presentation of Quantitative Evidence
Graphical displays of results may be used instead of (or in addition to) tabular displays of results.
Authors are discouraged from implying too much certainty in their estimated results by offering coefficients that extend to three and four decimal places. Two or fewer decimal places are typically sufficient.
Authors should recognize that the substantive sizes of estimated associations and effects are of primary importance, and that statistical significance is of secondary importance.
Estimated coefficients should be accompanied by indications of their expected variability across repeated sampling from the same population. Standard errors are preferred for tables, and error bars (or analogs to them) are preferred for graphical displays.
Authors may use tests of point-null hypotheses, but the motivation for these tests should be clearly explained. Tables should not be burdened by an excessive use of asterisks, stars, daggers, or the like. Coefficients with substantial standard errors should be interpreted as imprecise estimates, not as indicating that the null hypothesis is valid (i.e., a nonsignficant coefficient, as judged by a p-value, should not be interpreted as if it is equal to a null hypothesis of zero).
Long tables that include all coefficients of adjustment variables (i.e., control variables, covariates, and the like) are discouraged in the main body of the article. Full tables can be placed in supplementary appendices.
Disclosure of Data and Code
For quantitatively oriented manuscripts that utilize real or simulated data, authors are strongly encouraged to offer their data and code online to other researchers.
Conflicts of Interest
Sociological Science requires disclosure of any personal or professional relationships and sources of financial support that may cause the appearance of or potential for a conflict of interest in submitted work. Articles should describe sources of financial support for the research described. Authors should detail any financial, personal or professional relationships with entities whose positions, goals and financial interests relate to the research described in the submitted work.
The handling of manuscripts in the editorial review process is designed to ensure that submissions are treated in an unbiased way. Manuscripts are assigned to avoid conflicts of interest, and the appearance of conflicts of interest, between the authors and the handling editors and reviewers. Editors and reviewers are generally not assigned manuscripts authored by individuals who are employed at the same institutions, with whom they have been a recent co-author, for whom they served as a graduate student advisor or advisee, or with whom they have a close professional or personal relationship. If a paper falls into any of these categories, another member of the editorial team will handle it.
Upon publication, accepted manuscripts will include the identities of the handling editors involved in the editorial decision.
Sociological Science subscribes to the American Sociological Association’s definition of authorship in its Code of Ethics:
- “Sociologists take responsibility and credit, including authorship credit, only for work they have actually performed or to which they have contributed.
- Sociologists ensure that principal authorship and other publication credits are based on the relative scientific or professional contributions of the individuals involved, regardless of their status. In claiming or determining the ordering of authorship, sociologists seek to reflect accurately the contributions of main participants in the research and writing process.
- A student is usually listed as principal author on any multiple-authored publication that substantially derives from the student’s dissertation or thesis.”
Authors with complaints about Sociological Science‘s editorial process should direct their complaints initially to the Editor-in-Chief at firstname.lastname@example.org. As an alternative, complaints may be directed to the President of the Society for Sociological Science.