Spring Semester 2020 Research Positions


Please complete a research application and choose one of the research positions listed below (research applications available on the Undergraduate Research link or in Townshend Hall 141).  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 2019.  SOCIOL 4998 is one of the options that students can use to fulfill the major Experiential Learning 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

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.

Private Certificate Efforts: Contestation or Cooptation/ Dr. Andrew Martin
Email application to

Recently there has been a growing effort by activists to compel corporations to adopt socially responsibly policies (sustainability, use of non-sweated labor, cruelty free products).  This research project assess the effectiveness of such efforts.  Students will be expected to perform media searches on organizations that engage in private certification to understand these dynamics more fully.

Completion of research methods preferred but not required.

National Sport & Society Survey/ Dr. Christopher Knoester
Email application to

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. Up to 5 students are needed to help prepare the data for analysis, begin various study analyses, and otherwise assist in the research process.

Up to 5 students needed. Research training is a plus. GPA should be above a 3.0.

Moral Panics, Race, and the Criminalization of Marijuana in the Early 20th Century
Email application to Professor Michael Vuolo vuolo.2@osu.edu

The goal of this research project is 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.

Research Methods and Drugs and Society are both preferred, but not absolutely necessary. GPA will also be considered as a qualification.

Understanding Dying from Multiple Vantage Points
Email application to graduate student Lauren Gebhardt-Kram

This qualitative project is about how dying is experienced in the hospice setting. Using interview data from dying persons, their family caregivers, and those working in the hospice field, this project aims to map the dying experience from multiple vantage points. Students interested in medicine, aging, and organizations are especially encouraged to apply. Research Assistants will be asked to help prepare audio data for analysis and assist with participant recruitment as needed. Looking for the help of 3-5 enthusiastic students.

GPA of 3.0 or higher. Completion of a research methods course is preferred, but not required. Non-majors are welcome and students can sign up for 1 to 3 credit hours as they choose. Faculty advisor: Corinne Reczek.

How Parents Respond to Children’s Gender and Sexual Nonconformity
Email application to graduate student Lawrence Stacey, stacey.37@buckeyemail.osu.edu

The goal of this project is to understand how biological parents and stepparents react to their children’s gender and sexual non-conformity, and what this might mean for the reproduction of gender and sexual norms. A research assistant will work with the project leader, Lawrence Stacey, to code open-ended narrative responses from this project, primarily using Excel. Any students who are interested in gender, sexuality, families, or mixed-methods research are encouraged to apply.

Requirements: There is no class/training requirement, although completion of research methods and familiarity with Excel is beneficial. Students must have a minimum GPA of 2.5. Non-majors are welcome to apply.

Intern Experiences and Pathways to Labor Market Entry
Email Corey Pech,

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.

Police Violence: A Shift toward Impacts on Black Women
Email application to graduate students Laura Frizzell, frizzell.31@osu.edu, and Sadé Lindsay, lindsay.131@osu.edu

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.

Racial Prejudice and the Historical Rise of Mass Incarceration
Email application to Scott Duxbury, duxbury.5@osu.edu

This study is a project studying the role of racial prejudice in the United States prison boom. Students will help code archival text data and assist with evaluating the reliability of the final measures. Students interested in criminal justice, racial injustice, and the historical politics of mass incarceration are encouraged to apply.

5 to 10 students are required. Research methods training is a plus. Students can enroll in 2 to 3 credit hours. Non-majors are welcome to apply.

Prison Credentials, Race, and Post-Incarceration Employment: A Mixed Methods Study
Email application to Sadé Lindsay, lindsay.131@osu.edu

This is a mixed methods project that seeks to understand the relationship between in-prison job credentialing, race, and post-release employment among formerly incarcerated men. Student research assistants will help with quantitative and qualitative data collection. Students interested broadly in incarceration, stratification and inequality, employment, or learning more about field experiments and qualitative methods are encouraged to apply. I am seeking approximately five students.

Student must have a cumulative GPA over 3.0 and register for 1 to 3 research credit hours. Completion of a research methods and statistics course is preferred.

Computational Social Science
Email applications to Erick Axxe (axxe.1@osu.edu) or Peter Choi (choi.1443@osu.edu)

This is a computational project to examine race and inequality on the web. The project will involve constructing data from the web, running analysis with innovative methods, and validating the results with traditional methods. It will be a great chance to learn and experience computational social science as well as research in general.

We are looking for up to two research assistants to be hired for 1-3 credit hours. Willingness to learn about computational social science is required. Students must have a GPA of at least 2.5. Non-majors are welcome to apply. Faculty advisor, Vincent Roscigno.

SMALL Talk research project
Email Amanda Harvey, harvey.374@osu.edu

SMALL Talk research project is a longitudinal study that will work with 320 low-income mothers and their 6- to 11-month-old children. We will be recruiting in local facilities/clinics that serve low-income mothers and families. Measurements will be collected twice a year to comprehensively map family processes and experiences, caregiver-child interaction quality, caregiver stress and stress physiology, child stress physiology, and children’s linguistic trajectories until 54 months.

The goal of the study is to identify early risk for developmental language disorder (DLD) among young, low-income children, and to determine how caregiver and child chronic stress and interaction quality interact to disrupt language growth among these vulnerable children. The long-term objective is to identify pathways through which early family contexts and the conditions of poverty disrupt early language trajectories among low-income children and contribute to heightened rates of DLD.

Application Instructions: Submit a cover letter, CV/resume, and names/contact information of at least two professional references. The cover letter should describe (a) why the student is interested in the position, (b) previous experience indicating professionalism and reliability, as well as any other relevant skills, (c) previous experience volunteering with low income populations and/or young children, (d) daily availability during the semester, and (e) access to transportation to the Schoenbaum Family Center/ Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy. We are looking to have 4-8 students participate, depending on quality of applications.

Group Interaction Project/ Dr. David Melamed
Email application and resume to Leanne Barry, barry.263@osu.edu

For this project, which is funded by the National Science Foundation, we are seeking students to act in experimental sessions. In each session, you will interact with one “real” participant over Skype (to avoid visual cues), and will be required to be assertive or passive, depending on the phase of the session. To do so, you will be provided a script, but will likely need to ad lib as real participants may do or say as they like.

Each session entails working with participants on a series of ambiguous tasks, and we are interested in how demeanor shapes social influence and perceptions of group members based on interaction patterns.

This experiment will run through the Spring 2020 semester. Students will gain an understanding of experimental design in the social sciences, gain experience with running experiments, and may be involved in the analysis as they see fit. Actors will be paid for their time.

The Principal Investigator for this project is Prof. David Melamed. Questions about the research may be directed to the research assistant for the project, Leanne Barry at barry.263@osu.edu. Students must have a 3.4 GPA to be eligible for this project. If interested, please email your resume to Ms. Barry.

Black Advantaged Families’ College Choices
Email application to graduate student Deborwah Faulk, faulk.30@osu.edu

Using data from in-depth interviews that I have been conducting over the past six months, I am investigating how and why Black upper- and upper-middle class families make decisions about where their children will attend college. This project will involve transcribing audio-recorded interviews and using qualitative analytic software (such as Nvivo) to code the interviews for salient themes.  I am seeking one to two students to work with me on this project.

There is no class/training requirement. Completion of research methods course is preferred, but all applications will be considered. Student must be a junior or senior and have a cumulative GPA over 3.0. Strong interests in race, inequality, and education highly recommended. Natasha Quadlin is the graduate co-advisor for this project.

Definitions and Enactment of Quality Time: An Intersectional Look at Parenting
Email application to Chloe Dunston, dunston.7@osu.edu

My qualitative thesis is titled "Definitions and Enactment of Quality Time: An Intersectional Look at Parenting" and explores connections between the emotional aspects of parenting and social identity. Broadly, I'll explore whether lived experiences at the intersections of race, class and gender impact the ways in which parents desire, and are able, to connect emotionally with their children through 'quality time'. Specifically, interviews will answer:

1. How do parents define quality time in ways connected to social dynamics?
2. How do social dynamics facilitate or inhibit achievement of these ideals?

This work will expand upon previous research by looking more closely at the emotional content of quality time and the external dynamics that impact the emotional life of the family.

My goal is to conduct a minimum of 30 interviews and I would need assistance only with transcription. One credit hour is likely appropriate and the student wouldn't need any sort of advanced course completion. Rachel or myself can be contacted at dwyer.46@osu.edu or dunston.7@osu.edu.