I have gone through this process many times…and it still is not much fun. Here is what submitting a paper to an academic journal can look like:
Come to the point when you feel that you have said all that there is to be said and in a satisfactory way. Perhaps this comes in response to feedback from a previous submission or from your own thinking and conversations. This may have been a quick turnaround or a lengthy period of contemplation and rewriting. Time to find the submission page for a journal.
Go through the author’s guidelines for that particular journal. Even with commonly-used bibliographic formats and some consistency of how papers are put together, there might be changes or small details to attend to. Formatting ensues.
Time to submit the paper. Go through a process that looks similar across journals but might ask for slightly different information or in a different order. Get the details right and look over key parts of the paper again including the abstract and keywords. Approve your submission.
Time to sit back and wait. Will it make it past the editors? Linger in peer reviews? Come back with mixed reviews, get a revise and resubmit, or be accepted? In some ways, the publication process is just underway.
I understand why the process is what it is: each journal has its own approach as does each publisher. The publishing system is meant to provide peer review for academic work, helping to insure good research is published. Even going through the final steps for submission as outlined above can help crystallize arguments and writing.
But, simplifying the process, even within publishers or within disciplines, could help researchers feel better about their submissions. Some of this cannot be changed; it is still a vulnerable point to send off a manuscript into the great unknown and to reviewers who may or may not like what is there. Some of it can be changed: the basic details are usually the same even across venues.
A small town once stood on the riverbank, where the river bends before ending its journey at the lake. For several decades in the mid-1800s, the village of Singapore was a humming lumber and shipbuilding hub. Residents and sawmill workers processed the plentiful white pine trees of western Michigan, then loaded them onto schooners for Chicago and Milwaukee.
The founders of Singapore had big dreams. They envisioned their town, then located north of present-day Saugatuck on the southwestern Michigan shore, as the next important Midwestern city, rivaling the growing metropolises in Illinois and Wisconsin…
After the lumber trade waned and a series of fires roared through the area, leading to the destruction of many of Singapore’s houses, the town was abandoned. By 1875, according to Eric Gollannek, executive director of the Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society, the lumber boom was over, the mills were dismantled and moved to St. Ignace, Michigan, jobs dried up and the village slowly disappeared.
Eventually, what was left of Singapore was buried beneath the sand.
The sand dunes of Lake Michigan are an underrated natural feature. Since I have seen them on top of a house or two at Silver Lake (see the image above), it is not surprising that they cover the remains of a town.
I would guess that the early decades of Midwest settlement is a ripe time for finding ghost towns or abandoned communities. Many early settlers had dreams that their town would prosper in the future. But, time, outside social forces, and internal decisions helped seal the fate of some places while others thrived.
The possible forces at work are numerous. Perhaps it was the changing of transportation technology; the coming of the railroad, the slowdown or rise in traffic along a road, shifting harbors and waterways. Perhaps it was the consolidation of residents or trading activity in one community as opposed to another. Perhaps it was the presence of a particular industry or the the decline of an industry. Ecological conditions can change as well, ranging from droughts to major storms to fires to human activity that changes the landscape in significant ways.
Today, it is hard to imagine that established communities of a particular size could disappear. Yet, history suggests this has happened before. It may not take sand dunes or cutting down many trees (something that happened all around Lake Michigan) but the communities of today are not guaranteed to be the communities of the future.
As the years drifted by, it took more and more voters per cluster for us to get a single voter to agree to an interview. Between 1984 and 1989, when caller ID was rolled out, more voters began to ignore our calls. The advent of answering machines and then voicemail further reduced responses. Voters screen their calls more aggressively, so cooperation with pollsters has steadily declined year-by-year. Whereas once I could extract one complete interview from five voters, it can now take calls to as many as 100 voters to complete a single interview, even more in some segments of the electorate…
I offer my own experience from Florida in the 2020 election to illustrate the problem. I conducted tracking polls in the weeks leading up to the presidential election. To complete 1,510 interviews over several weeks, we had to call 136,688 voters. In hard-to-interview Florida, only 1 in 90-odd voters would speak with our interviewers. Most calls to voters went unanswered or rolled over to answering machines or voicemail, never to be interviewed despite multiple attempts.
The final wave of polling, conducted Oct. 25-27 to complete 500 interviews, was the worst for cooperation. We could finish interviews with only four-tenths of one percent from our pool of potential respondents. As a result, this supposed “random sample survey” seemingly yielded, as did most all Florida polls, lower support for President Trump than he earned on Election Day.
After the election, I noted wide variations in completion rates across different categories of voters, but nearly all were still too low for any actual randomness to be assumed or implied.
This is a basic Research Methods class issue: if you cannot collect a good sample, you are going to have a hard time reflecting reality for the population.
Here is the part I understand less. This is not a new issue. As noted above, response rates have been falling for decades. Part of it is new technology. Some of it involves new behavior, such as ignoring phone calls or distrust of political polling. The amount of polling and data collection that takes place now can lead to survey fatigue.
But, it is interesting that the techniques used to collect this data are roughly the same. Of course, it has moved from land lines to cell phones and perhaps even texting or recruited online pools of potential voters. The technology has changed some but the idea is similar in trying to reach out to a broad set of people and hope a representative enough sample responds.
Perhaps it is time for new techniques. The old ones have some advantages including the ability to relatively quickly reach a large number of people and researchers and consultants are used to these techniques. And I do not have the answers for what might work better. Researchers embedded in different communities who could collect data over time? Finding public spaces frequented by diverse populations and approaching people there? Working more closely with bellwhether or representative places or populations to track what is going on there?
Even with these low response rates, polling can still tell us something. It is not as bad as picking randomly or flipping a coin. Yet, it is not accurate enough in recent years. If researchers want to collect valid and reliable polling data in the future, new approaches may be in order.
Last night’s new episode of Flip or Flop, Season 9 Episode 7, featured a home with an ADU (accessory dwelling unit). And this unique feature of the home offers a chance to make more money:
After Tarek and Christina realize the garage in the backyard is now a living space, Tarek lays out the argument: this is not just a studio space or a he/she-shed. It is possibly a rentable unit. This may make this property even more enticing.
This got me thinking. ADUs are supposed to help provide more housing units in more expensive markets like Portland and Los Angeles. Instead of building denser, taller housing in single-family home neighborhoods, ADUs take advantage of existing yard space, garages, or other buildings on residential properties.
But, while the ADUs might provide more housing, they may not necessarily provide housing that is that much cheaper. Take the example from Flip or Flop: with a home valued at over $1 million in North Hollywood, they estimated they could rent the studio ADU with a full bathroom and kitchen for $2,000 a month. How many people could afford this?
Further, such units could become a tool for residents and developers to generate more revenue. In such competitive markets, adding any kind of residential unit presents an opportunity. The ADU could enable a homeowner to generate money from their property. An investor interested in a single home or one with multiple homes could generate even more money with ADUs.
To truly provide housing that is more plentiful and at a reasonable price, it seems like a lot of ADUs are needed. They cannot provide as many units as large multifamily developments might. Yes, they do not disturb the existing character of a neighborhood much. But, if the ultimate goal is to broadly expand housing options, the occasional ADU in an expensive area might not be enough.
The vacant Sears store at the Fox Valley Mall could be razed early next year to make way for a three-building apartment development and kick off a new phase of life for the 45-year-old mall.
Aurora aldermen will vote next week on a request to rezone roughly 11 acres of the property along Route 59 side of the property to allow the buildings.
The buildings, each three stories tall, would have a total of 304 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments…
A 2020 report for the city said that, including the closed Sears and Carson Pirie Scott department stores, 40% of the mall’s store space was vacant.
Adding residential units to shopping malls is a fairly common suggestion. With retailers in trouble, apartments fill the space more permanently, can address housing issues in communities, and could provide a ready population of potential customers for the nearby mall and other proprietors.
With the proposal working its way through local government, three things are worth watching regarding these apartments:
How, if at all, will the apartments be connected to the mall? If they are completely separate buildings and are not marketed as being right next to the mall, then they could be like any new apartments. But, perhaps the mall is a draw for those who might want to be close to shopping, an indoor walking site, and food options.
What kind of apartments will these be? Given their location, these will probably not be cheap apartments. In addition to being close to the mall, the apartments are near lots of other shopping and dining as well as potential employers, the location is just west of Naperville, and a busy Metra station is just to the north.
How much of the mall will survive within five or ten years? The apartments could help revive the mall area or help hasten its demise.
It is easy to criticize McMansions. They can have cartoonish features, ranging from turrets to garish facades to oversized garages to odd proportions. Much effort is put into their facades with less attention paid to other sides of the home. The interior may have some questionable choices. In an era of hot takes, social media, and concerns about housing and inequality, a quick skewering of a McMansion draws attention.
On the other hand, these real estate listings are for real homes. Numerous American communities, often wealthier suburbs, have McMansions. And at least a few people are willing to buy them.
Does this approach to McMansions help more people avoid purchasing such homes, either because the social stigma is potentially higher or because they are alerted to the problems with McMansions? Or, does it reinforce existing views people have about McMansions?
This may ultimately come down to taste in single-family homes based on social class, access to resources, and experiences with different kinds of communities. While political polarization in the suburbs is real, polarization by home style could be present alongside it.
While rents in San Jose have fallen 6 percent since January, tech havens in Santa Clara County — including Mountain View, Sunnyvale and the city of Santa Clara — have seen rents fall by at least 11 percent during the covid pandemic, according to a new study by Apartment List. Rents also declined in the East Bay.
The exodus of now working-from-home techies from the Bay Area has left openings and rent discounts at complexes near the tech giants. The uncertainty of the pandemic has driven renters back home, to spacey outer-suburbs or to remote towns and resort communities such as Lake Tahoe…
The demand for more living space and the shortage of homes for sale has driven up single family home prices in Silicon Valley, with suburban buyers pushing median prices to $1.33 million in Santa Clara County and $1.63 million in San Mateo County in September, according to CoreLogic data…
Popov said rent declines have generally decreased the farther away you get from San Francisco. Outer markets in Salinas and Sacramento, for example, have seen rents climb.
The effects of COVID-19 illustrate how housing prices within a region or within contiguous regions do not necessarily all follow the same patterns. Even as one area might experience less demand in one part of the market – rental units in particular neighborhoods communities, other portions of the market – such as single-family homes – may be more expensive.
In a market like this, those who can move around have some advantages. First, those with resources and particular occupations can move away from areas with more cases of COVID-19. This could have a direct effect on health. Some of these workers might return when COVID-19 is no longer a concern but for now they can be in less dense areas and work from home.
Second, some people are more able to move than others. Even if prices are going up in desirable locations, they can pay more. They have particular occupations that allow them to work from home, an option that is less possible certain job sectors. Perhaps their social networks and connections to local institutions are more fluid and accessible remotely.
This discussion occasionally comes up when people look at available jobs throughout the United States. The question will arise: how come more people do not move to go where the jobs are and take advantage of the economic opportunities? Moving is not a simple task. It involves more than just having a good job or not.
The same can be true of housing costs. The price of renting or buying a home can vary dramatically from place to place. Yet, a large number of people may not move one way or the other for a variety of reasons. And since jobs and housing prices are linked for many, it can be hard for many to simply leave the expensive Bay Area or move within the region to take advantage of lower rents or costs in some areas.
In the 2016 election, rural and nonmetropolitan America gave Donald Trump enough of a margin to beat Hillary Clinton in seven key states. Ahead of the 2020 election, Republicans worried that Trump would lose his rural edge, in light of reduced support there in the 2018 midterm elections. But this was not the case. Instead, Trump’s loss to Joe Biden was due mostly to voters in large metropolitan suburbs, especially in important battleground states…
However, large suburban areas in 2020 registered a net Democratic advantage for the first time since Barack Obama’s victory in 2008. This is significant because more voters reside there than in the other three categories. In terms of aggregate votes in these large suburban counties, there was a shift from a 1.2 million vote advantage for Trump in 2016 to (at last count) a 613,000 vote advantage for Biden—a nearly 2 million vote flip. In addition, Biden benefitted from more modest Republican margins in small metropolitan areas. These advantages for the President-elect were even greater in key battleground states…
The three northern battleground states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin—which flipped to Trump in 2016—again entered the Democratic fold in 2020. Here, even more than in the national analysis, the 2016 to 2020 suburban shifts to either greater Democratic or smaller Republican support were instrumental in Biden’s victory…
Suburban voting patterns also made a difference in the Sun Belt, especially in large southern states where suburbanization has been rampant. The focus here is on two such states: Georgia, where Biden is ahead and a recount has been announced; and Texas, which Trump won, but where urban and suburban voting patterns closed the longtime Republican-Democratic gap.
While political analysis suggests middle suburbs are battleground areas, I wonder if this signals that these suburbs are also in the middle of all sorts of other trends including demographic changes, cultural tastes, and suburban inequality. To build on earlier posts, perhaps finding middle America right now involves going to a Walmart in a middle suburb or an emergency room in a middle suburb.
Many people have discussed the electoral college in recent years. Here is a crazier proposal based on more recent trends: instead of the electoral college by states, how about an electoral college by cities, suburbs, and rural areas? With concerns on either side that cities or rural areas are controlling political outcomes, could there be some way to weight the results such that all three geographies could influence the outcome? Grouping votes by states obliterates any distinctions between places.
The data above helps provides details on this population change. The net migration data shows the region gained nearly 200,000 residents via international migration. If you rank all of the MSAs over the decade, Chicago was #10 on the list of international migrants. Chicago continues to be an important center for immigrants (even as it lags behind New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Houston, Washington, Boston, Dallas, San Francisco, and Seattle).
This means that if the Chicago area had fewer international immigrants, it would have lost a lot more people. If international migration was more like San Diego or Tampa or Minneapolis, the region would have lost more than 50,000 people. While I suspect few in the Chicago region would like to lose any residents over a decade, the situation would be much worse without the city and region continuing to attract immigrants.
I recently finished the large tome Recording the Beatles. This is a very detailed book about the recording process the group went through with information on all of the equipment (from mixing boards to microphones to studio spaces to echo chambers to instruments and so on) and the recording studio staff and infrastructure the group had throughout their career.
There are a number of sociological connections to make based on this work. Here is the one that sticks out the most to me: the “art world” of The Beatles, which includes what this book describes as the equipment and the people at Abbey Road (with a few other studios thrown in at different times), both constrained and empowered The Beatles. The story of their music and the group would be incomplete without reckoning with this. Let me explain further what I mean.
In some ways, the structure of EMI and Abbey Road constrained the Beatles. EMI was already a successful company ahead of signing the Beatles in 1962 and had particular ways of going about things. The space and personnel had a particular structure. EMI made a lot of their own audio equipment and equipment from other manufacturers was often modified in house. There was a clear division of labor between the producer, engineer, and sound technicians (symbolized by the white coats worn in the studio).
Rock music was something new for EMI and the Abbey Road studios and it took some time to catch up to new music trends as well as to what the Beatles wanted to do. At the beginning, recording was more of a live affair where groups came in and recorded songs in a few takes. An album would take just a few days. For much of their career, the Beatles recorded on four-track boards and machines, limiting recording opportunities or making certain tasks more difficult. Getting access to new equipment required formal requests and testing. The Beatles producer, George Martin, was not trained as much in rock music. Much of the Beatles catalog was originally only made available in mono, rather than stereo, sound.
Despite these constraints, or, more accurately, partly because of these constraints, the Beatles became successful. The band had to work hard in the early days to hone their sound for the studio. They had to act professional in front of George Martin and the experienced staff. The equipment pushed them to be extra creative in getting new sounds and techniques to tape.
Indeed, the infrastructure was also empowering. With a team of professionals, the Beatles were guided in the early days and gradually took on more responsibility for producing their own music. George Martin’s training proved very useful in arranging music, adding orchestral or horn parts, and encouraging new ways of doing things. Even if the equipment was outdated or lacking, the professionalism of the staff was not in question and all labored to translate the increasing creativity of the group to records. Abbey Road had almost everything that was needed including cavernous studios to record large groups and multiple spaces where the group and staff could work. The weight of EMI with all of its resources could help support the most popular band on earth.
While a common story of the Beatles is that they grew to chafe at the restrictions of conventional recording, this infrastructure – this technical art world – helped make their music what it became. If Decca had signed the group when they had a chance and put the Beatles into their infrastructure, the outcome could have been different. And the Beatles story within EMI is one echoed by countless other groups who then took rock music more broadly into studios, produced songs and albums, and influenced cultural life and societies. This infrastructure still exists, as does a more individualized and mobile setup where artists can record themselves in home studios or on the road with impressive quality.
Ultimately, this is a reminder that the creation of cultural objects is often a collective affair. Music groups can have great ideas or amazing musical talent or a particular charisma but this is channeled through and operates within a broader artistic context. The Beatles are what they are because of John, Paul, George, and Ringo but also because of EMI and Abbey Road.