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Department of Sociology Research

Methodological Approaches

WSU sociology faculty members draw on, and in some cases develop and refine, diverse methods in their research programs: survey methodology, evaluation research, network analysis, experimental methods, qualitative methods, content analysis, longitudinal data analysis, and quantitative methods. Faculty also regularly offer courses and mentorship opportunities for students to develop their own expertise in one or more research methodologies.

Examples of Faculty Research

Web Push Survey Methods

Sample surveys are essential for estimating with precision people’s demographic characteristics, behaviors and opinions.  Regents Professor Don Dillman continues investigating how web-push methods, that is the use of postal contact to request responses over the internet followed with a request for paper response from those who do not respond over the web can improve response rates and the quality of survey responses while also lowering data collection costs. These methods, developed at WSU beginning in 2007, are now used in countries throughout the world.

Social Networks Analysis

Thomas Rotolo brings a social network approach to a diverse range of questions about social processes.  He and his collaborators are mapping scientific collaboration networks over time to examine what happens to science when disaster strikes and research practice is disrupted.  Another collaborative project with Adam Roth (’19 PhD) also relies upon social network data to explore the connections between living alone and loneliness.

Methods Training

WSU sociology faculty also regularly offer courses and mentorship opportunities for students to develop their own expertise in one or more research methodologies. Our graduate program offers foundational coursework as well as specialized training in a range of methodologies to reflect the diverse and inclusive approaches of our faculty:

  • Data Management (SOC 511)
  • Research Methods in Sociology (SOC 520)
  • Regression Models (SOC 521)
  • Advanced Sociological Methodology (SOC 522)
  • Qualitative Methods Practicum (SOC 523)
  • Practicum in Survey Research (SOC 525)
  • Experimental Methods (SOC 526)
  • Geographic Information Systems in Health and Social Sciences (SOC 560)WSU

Social and Economic Sciences Research Center

A nationally recognized WSU center that conducts large-scale surveys for faculty research, the University, and other agencies and organizations using internet, mail, telephone and mixed-mode procedures.

Survey Specialist

Graduate and undergraduate students are often employed to conduct surveys and benefit from the guidance of Don Dillman, WSU Regents professor and world-renowned survey specialist who literally wrote the book on modern methodology.

Read more about his work:
Asked and answered: 50 years of survey innovation