Student Research FAQ

Who is the point person for advising about undergraduate research?

DUS Kathleen Guidroz
Phone: +1 202-687-3658, Location: Car Barn Suite 209

How does a student find a faculty research mentor?

Students can check the Research Opportunities page on the department website for open positions or contact faculty with whom they have taken a course to ask about specific research opportunities. Students can also make an appointment to meet with the DUS to discuss their interests. The DUS will be able to point them toward faculty who conduct work on the topic of interest.

How does our discipline define research?

In sociology, research is a systematic investigation, usually using empirical data, to contribute to scholarly conversation aimed at better understanding the social world.

How does our department introduce research to undergraduates? Where should they start?

Students are introduced to existing research in introductory courses, and we continue to build from there. All majors write a research paper in the required statistics class and a research proposal in the required methods class. In some foundational courses and advanced seminars, all students are required to write research papers.

Which skills do undergraduates need to begin to participate in research?

For some positions, students only need to be familiar with sociological research; they will get on-the-job training. However, other positions require specific skills, such as experience with statistical analysis and software (e.g., R, Stata). Students should keep in mind that faculty tend to hire students who have taken courses with them, because they know the student’s capabilities, strengths, and work habits.

How will our students acquire these skills?

Students acquire the skills through classes and opportunities to work on faculty projects.

What are the pathways for research for students (what intermediate and advanced opportunities are available after an introduction to research and skills)?

Our program requires all majors to write a senior thesis. Therefore, by senior year, all students will have an opportunity to complete an independent research project.

May a student earn academic credit for conducting research?

We do not currently have a system in place for students to earn course credit for conducting research outside of a formal course.

May a student be paid for conducting research with a faculty member?

Yes, if faculty have grants or research funds, they almost always pay students for their work. Most RA jobs in sociology come through students contacting faculty they know to inquire about research opportunities or faculty reaching out to students they know.

Do you connect undergraduate students interested in research with graduate student researchers?

Sociology does not have a graduate program.