Research Opportunities

field studyOne way to learn the discipline of sociology is to work with faculy on research projects. These research opportunities will help you hone your research skills, tackling complex topics. Below is a list of current opportunities available through sociology faculty.

If you do not see something of interest, then also consider visiting the Office of Student Research and look at their list of Research Opportunities for students. This office can also provide small research grants to students trying to complete their own research or needing to travel to present their research at professional organization conferences.

Fall 2016

Prisons in Central Appalachia

Drs. Robert Perdue and Ken Sanchagrin will be conducting research the dramatic growth of prisons being located in central Appalachia. Seeking to bring jobs and development to their communities, policymakers tend to view the industry as an economic lifeline. The passage of time allows us to critically evaluate the impacts of prison development in central Appalachia, and we analyzedper capita income, poverty and unemployment in counties that have opened a prison since 1989. We found little evidence to support the claim that prisons are engines of growth. These findings suggest that communities are more likely to benefit from investments in education, infrastructure, and technology, than in luring prisons to their counties. These findings are outlined in the forthcoming fall issue of Journal of Appalachian Studies.We are now expanding this examination to other regions and including different measures to more thoroughly evaluate our mass incarceration nation. This research is being funded by a University Research Council Grant, and is being undertaken with the assistance of undergraduate students.