Please complete a research application and choose one of the research positions listed below. Please return your completed applications to the contact person listed for the project via email.
Below are the research projects that are available for students to work on for SOCIOL 4998 credit Spring Semester 2018. SOCIOL 4998 is one of the options that students can use to fulfill the Integrated Elective requirement - PLEASE NOTE, you may only count 3 hours total of internship or research credit towards the major. Also, remember that research experience is especially important if you are planning on applying to graduate school!
Please read the requirements for each project carefully, as some require either specific coursework or specific GPA.
Amish Directory Data/ Dr. Elizabeth Cooksey
(email application to firstname.lastname@example.org)
The recent Amish Mennonite Directory data need to be entered into a spread sheet so that demographic fertility and marriage patterns can be compared with those of the Old Order Amish from whom they have split. This project involves entering the Amish directory data into Stata/Excel. One or multiple students may be hired. A prior student ended up doing an honors thesis as a result of this experience.
No special classes or statistical skills required except that the research assistants must be able to pay close attention to details. A good major or cumulative GPA is preferred.
Social Movements and the Corporation Research Project/ Dr. Andrew Martin
(email application to email@example.com)
While the state is typically viewed as the primary focus of social movement activity, businesses have also been targeted by these actors. This project examines the interaction between businesses and social movements. Students will use an existing database of social protest in America to search the New York Times for instances when corporations have been targeted by social movements.
Completion of research methods preferred but not required.
Intern Experiences and Pathways to Labor Market Entry
(email Corey Pech, firstname.lastname@example.org)
This is a qualitative project aimed at understanding the relationship between college major, internships, and labor market entry. Student research assistants will help write case summaries and organize/code data. Any students interested in work, labor markets, education, stratification, or learning practical qualitative research skills are encouraged to apply.
There is no class/training requirement. Completion of research methods is a plus. Student must be a junior or senior and have a cumulative GPA over 2.5.
National Sport & Society Survey/ Dr. Knoester
(email application to email@example.com)
This is a national study focused on measuring sports participation, sports viewing, sport expenditures, and public opinions about sports-related issues. This major data collection effort will allow scholars to improve our understanding of the connections between sports interactions and the overall functioning of society.
1-2 students are needed to help prepare the survey instrument and otherwise assist in the research process. Research training is a plus. GPA should be above a 3.0.
Marijuana Criminalization in the U.S./ Dr. Mike Vuolo
(email application to firstname.lastname@example.org)
The goal of this research project is to determine how marijuana was discussed in media over time in the early 20th century, as it moved from a legal substance to a criminalized substance. Research assistants for this project will conduct content analysis of newspaper articles that mention marijuana from about 1885 to 1940. We will read each article and code for topics such as the words used for marijuana, mentions of race and ethnicity, and the mood of the article. There is also an expectation that we will meet weekly or biweekly as a research group to discuss progress.
No specific classes required except that the research assistants should be responsible, organized, and enthusiastic, particularly about the research topic. A good GPA is preferred. If the student has taken Research Methods (SOCIOL 3487) and/or Drugs and Society (SOCIOL 4506), that is a plus. Non-majors welcome.
Police Violence: A Shift toward Impacts on Black Women
(email Laura Frizzell, email@example.com, and Sadé Lindsay firstname.lastname@example.org)
The goal of this research project is to understand the impact of police violence on Black women. We are particularly interested in how the media saturation of images/videos portraying violence against Black bodies impacts Black women, as well as Black women’s direct and indirect experiences with police violence. The researchers will collect approximately 120 interviews of Black women, and we need undergraduate assistants to help with transcription and analysis of these interviews.
GPA of 3.0 or higher and completion of a research methods course are preferred, but we will consider all applications. We highly encourage those students to apply who are interested in race, gender, police violence, and/or qualitative methods. Non-majors are welcome, and students can sign up for 1 to 3 credit hours as they choose.
Government Fiscal Health
(email Lora Phillips, email@example.com)
Which counties and municipalities across the country contain many households that have experienced a sudden, large decline in income? Are these counties and municipalities the same as those that have experienced government fiscal stress? Answering these two questions is the first step to understanding how resident and government finances are related, as well as the causes and consequences of place-specific economic insecurity.
This quantitative project will answer the second question by identifying which county and municipal governments have experienced fiscal stress between 2003 and today. Student research assistants will download and save financial reports from government web sites and enter specific data from those reports into a spreadsheet for later analysis. Any students interested in inequality/stratification, economic sociology, urban sociology, political economy, or learning quantitative research skills are encouraged to apply.
There is no class/training requirement, including no requirement to have prior knowledge of government accounting. Students should be responsible, detail-oriented, organized, and enthusiastic. Students looking to fulfill research hours may enroll in 1-3 hours, depending on their preference. Non-majors are welcome to apply.
Worker Experiences in the Gig Economy
(email Laurie Michaels, firstname.lastname@example.org)
This is a qualitative, comparative project focused on the experiences of workers employed in the ‘gig economy’ and the traditional employment sector. Research assistants will transcribe qualitative, in-depth interviews and code qualitative data. This is a great opportunity for students interested in work & labor, gender, race, or social inequality; it’s also a good chance for students to learn more about interview methodologies. Hours are flexible, but students should be expect to work 8 -10 hours/week.
Cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher. Completion of Social Research Methods preferred but not required.
“Was it Good for You?:” Gender and the Social construction of “Good Sex”
(email Emma Carroll, email@example.com)
This is a qualitative project aimed at understanding how people define “good” and “bad” sexual encounters. There is plenty of quantitative research indicating that sexual satisfaction contributes to positive mental health, physical health, and relationship outcomes, but little qualitative work has been conducted to explore what sexual satisfaction means subjectively and how gender contributes to narratives surrounding “good” sex. Student research assistants will transcribe recorded interviews and have the opportunity to provide their own data interpretation insights.
There is no class/training requirement. Completion of research methods is a plus. Student must have a cumulative GPA over 2.5. Hours are flexible, but students should be prepared to commit to five to ten hours per week.
Terrorism in the Media/ Dr. Eric Schoon
(E-mail application to Schoon.firstname.lastname@example.org)
Why are some acts of violence and some violent actors labeled as terrorists while others are not? How do concepts of what constitutes terrorism change over time? This research engages these questions by examining the factors that influence whether violent organizations are referred to as terrorists in media coverage of the organizations and the violence they perpetrate. Students working on this project will be trained in the development of coding protocols, data collection procedures, and data management, and will work with me to compile data on organizations that are included in the Global Terrorism Database.
There are no specific course requirements, but completion of Research Methods (SOC 487/3487 or equivalent) is a plus.
Sterilization Decisions Among Couples
(email Alex Kissling, email@example.com)
How do people decide to use contraceptive sterilization? Are these decisions gendered? Through answering these questions, this project will help us understand how people talk about contraception with their partners and how people decide that they are done having children permanently.
This qualitative project will address these questions with in depth interviews among couples. Student research assistants will help write case summaries, as well as organizing and coding data. Student may be responsible for some transcription. Students interested in health, gender, reproductive rights and/or learning practical qualitative research skills are encouraged to apply.
There is no class/training requirement. Students should be responsible, detail-oriented, organized, and enthusiastic. Students looking to fulfill research hours may enroll in 1-3 hours, depending on their preference. Non-majors are welcome to apply.
Drug Trade on the Dark-Net/ Dr. Dana Haynie
(email Scott Duxbury, firstname.lastname@example.org)
The purpose of this project is to study the network structure of online drug distribution networks that are enabled through encrypted areas of cyberspace (the dark-net). Unlike traditional Internet venues, the dark-net is only accessible through anonymizing Tor browsers or with the use of proxy servers. The anonymizing capacity of the dark-net has made it particularly appealing for the exchange of illicit goods. For example, the notorious Silk Road—an online drug market that allowed users to exchange illicit substances and leave user reviews in a fashion similar to E-bay—operated entirely on the dark-net and in many ways paved the way for future generations of drug exchange. While the Silk Road was shut down in 2014, similar dark-net drug markets have proliferated in its wake. Consequently, contemporary studies estimate that up to 10% of drug users have used the dark-net for substance procurement. In this regard, this kind of anonymous virtual medium shifts the way illegal products are exchanged and provides a novel way for criminal groups to exchange information.
In this project, we seek to understand how these distribution networks organize and how these organizational patterns 1) optimize drug distribution and 2) react to network stressors (e.g. the removal of high profile vendors). We wish to recruit the help of a team of talented undergraduates who are passionate about sociology, criminology, network analysis, or technology studies. Students involved will work as a small research team to collect data on dark-net drug exchange. They will be exposed to data collection techniques, analytic methods, and the translation of criminological theory into empirical projects. Moreover, students will meet with advisors regularly to review progress in data collection and to analyze preliminary models. In this way, we hope that the experience is mutually beneficial, providing participants with first hand evidence of the fruits of their labor.
From participants: we expect a familiarity with Microsoft Excel. A working knowledge of data collection or analysis is a plus, but not required. Training will be provided by graduate student researchers. Participants can receive research or course credit relevant to their degree requirements.
Attitudes toward Gender and Sexuality/ Dr. Natasha Quadlin
(email application to email@example.com)
How do Americans think about gender and sexuality? Are these constructs biologically determined at birth, or are they socially constructed? And how do Americans’ beliefs differ when they are asked to think about men’s gender and sexuality, versus women’s gender and sexuality? I recently conducted a national telephone survey that posed these questions to a large and diverse sample of Americans. Students will use qualitative coding techniques to code the transcripts from this survey. Students will be encouraged to develop their own independent research ideas as a result of this experience.
No specific requirements. Completion of Research Methods, experience or interest in qualitative research, and interest in gender and sexualities are all pluses.
Environmental Problems and Society
(email Matthew Soener, firstname.lastname@example.org)
This project aims to study economic and environmental impacts with a specific focus on factors leading to greenhouse gas emissions and the energy sector itself in the United States. Researchers will compile existing data, download and sort various documents and archives, and find and possibly code media sources.
Students applying must have a GPA above 2.5.