Methods

We have a large number of faculty with deep expertise in both qualitative and quantitative methods. During the PhD program, all graduate students take core courses in both qualitative and quantitative methods and then specialize in one or more methods through advanced coursework. Students not only learn the methods in the classroom, they also gain invaluable experience applying these methods through coursework and collaborations with faculty.

Qualitative Methods (Purser, Shahrokni, Kurien, Ackerman, Winder, Schewe, Harrington Meyer, London)

Many faculty in our department specialize in qualitative methods, including ethnography, interviewing, comparative-historical research, archival research, community-based participatory action research, and arts-based methods. Faculty use these methods to examine important sociological and political processes, such as political party formation in Latin America; the creation of women-only parks in Iran; the rise in grandmothers juggling families and jobs; the plight of day laborers and the agencies that aim to serve them; the role of religion in shaping group formation and mobilization; attitudes about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV among young men who have sex with men; and identity formation in Black LQBT communities.

Quantitative Methods (Landes, London, Karas Montez, Silverstein, Wilmoth, Harrington Meyer)

Many faculty in our department specialize in a range of quantitative methods, such as cross-sectional and longitudinal regression analyses, survival analyses, as well as growth curve, multilevel, spatial, and structural equation modeling. They use these methods to examine and understand pressing sociological issues such as the growing inequality in life expectancy across different social classes and geographic locations; the experiences of immigrants in the U.S. educational system; how gender and race affect the choice of college major; the complex social and economic causes of the opioid epidemic; how military experience shapes health, disability, and mortality in later life; intergenerational transfers and value transmission; social determinants of morbidity and mortality trends among persons with life-long disability; and the experience of marriage and divorce among same-sex couples.

Mixed Methods (Harrington Meyer, Schewe, Ma, London, Winder, Lutz)

Several faculty are experts in mixed methods, which use both qualitative and quantitative approaches. The department regularly offers semester courses and smaller workshops on these methods given their popularity. Our faculty use mixed methods to study several intriguing sociological and political issues, such as the decision making processes of dairy farmers in dispensing antibiotics and the implications for climate change; understanding opioid drug distribution networks in rural America in order to identify strategies to disrupt those networks; examining the experiences of the new wave of Chinese international undergraduates in America; understanding the integration of children of immigrants in the U.S. and Europe; attitudes and preferences related to the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV among young men who have sex with men; and the experiences of veterans across the life course.