Transmitting Tricks of the Trade: Advisors and the Development of Research Knowledge

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28 Scopus citations


How is sociological research practice learned? Because much of the tacit knowledge required to succeed in professions such as academia cannot be obtained formally, informal channels of learning—such as interaction with advisors—may be crucial. In this paper I test the extent to which graduate school advisors influence the development of their advisees’ research habits, practices, and beliefs. I find that advisors’ attitudes and intra-professional standing affect how their advisees view various research practices—both those that are less codified (such as how to deal with anomalous data) and those that are quite standardized (such as statistical significance testing). For the least standardized and most qualitative research practices, such as interpreting qualitative text, I find that students’ experiences are more relevant that advisors’ attitudes. I discuss these findings by referencing literature in the sociology of science and knowledge and relate my findings to broader knowledge about teaching sociology at the graduate level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-110
Number of pages18
JournalTeaching Sociology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


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