JFSB

RESEARCH

Curtis Child

Parents and School Choice Project

Professors Child, Phillips, and Dufur have been collecting data from low-income parents in a school district with unlimited enrollment options. Any of these parents could have chosen to take their children out of “failing” schools and put them in schools with better test scores, but almost none of them make this choice. The professors wanted to know why: do parents not know about things like test scores and open enrollment, or do they have different definitions of what good or failing schools are? More than fifteen student research assistants interviewed 93 parents and are working on transcribing, translating, and coding the interviews looking for patterns in parental opinions. They are also looking for whether there are different patterns for parents from different ethnic backgrounds, as the sample is drawn from a neighborhood with relatively heavy Hispanic and Polynesian representation. Students on this project have presented papers at conferences in Chicago and St. George, have received ORCA grants, and have gotten course credit for working on the project.

 

Eric Dahlin

Professor Dahlin is studying the sociology of innovation, which represents a burgeoning field of investigation and an increasingly important topic. The sociological view he is developing highlights the ways social and cultural phenomena enable or constrain innovation. Aspects of the social context Dahlin is interested in include social networks, organizational practices, political institutions, and geography. Additionally, while there is little disagreement about the antecedents of innovation, people poorly understand how novel products impact their everyday lives. Thus, several additional research projects he is conducting explore the social impacts of innovation. 

 

Mikaela Dufur

International Family Structure and Transitions Project

Professors Dufur and Jarvis (along with Shana Pribesh at Old Dominion University) are working on a project looking at how family structure transitions affect child and adolescent outcomes. This project uses multiple data sets to examine how family structure and disruptions affect children's lives. The particular focus of the project is comparative, examining potential differences in the effects of family structure and disruption across different cultures. For example, does it make any difference if a child adds a parent compared to losing a parent? Is having multiple transitions worse than having one major life change? They are currently using US, UK, German, Australian, Canadian, and Korean data to examine the effect of family transitions across settings. Outcomes have included  children's behavior problems, stress, obesity, gender ideologies, and academic resources. Students who have worked on the project have presented papers at conferences in Philadelphia, San Antonio, Montrea, Germany, Switzerland, and Scotland, and have received ORCA grants and been accepted with full funding at multiple graduate programs. With so many data sets to juggle, they are always looking for students with data skills to work for course credit, co-authorship (sometimes including travel to present at conferences), or, when the stars really align, a paid job.

Parents and School Choice Project

Professors Child and Dufur have been collecting data from low-income parents in a school district with unlimited enrollment options. Any of these parents could have chosen to take their children out of "failing" schools and put them in schools with better test scores, but almost none of them make this choice. The professors wanted to know why: do parents not know about things like test scores and open enrollment, or do they have different definitions of what good or failing schools are? More than fifteen student research assistants interviewed 93 parents and are working on transcribing, translating, and coding the interviews looking for patterns in parental opinions. They are also looking for whether there are different patterns for parents from different ethnic backgrounds, as the sample is drawn from a neighborhood with relatively heavy Hispanic and Polynesian representation. Students on this project have presented papers at conferences in Chicago, Washington D. C., San Antonio, and Montreal. They have received ORCA grants gotten course credit for working on the project, and been accepted at multiple graduate programs.

International Education Gaps

Professors Phillips, Erickson, Dufur, and Jarvis are working on a project looking at country-level test scores on math and reading tests. News outlets often complain about the United States being 37th in the world in math scores, while countries like Finland and Singapore score much higher. But how big a difference is there between the scores in those countries? Some scholars have suggested that the reason for the United States’ relatively low scores is because of the country’s relatively high levels of diversity and the large gap between rich and poor students, but these explanations have rarely been tested. These professors’ work combines data from the Programme for International Student Assessment and the Luxembourg Income Study to test these questions. Among other results, they have found that the US’s richest and poorest students perform at the international average, while students from the middle of the income range perform below average. They’ve also shown that country-level policies and inequality affect individual students’ scores. Students who have worked on this project have presented in Philadelphia, Japan, and Switzerland. 

Race and Opportunity in Sport

Professor Dufur is working with students looking at the ways race and hometown affect mobility for athletes in US professional and collegiate football and in international-level rugby. They've gathered data on nearly 30,000 athletes from all over the world and combined the football data with information from US Census tracts to allow for comparisons between macro- and micro-level effects. They're interested in questions like whether race affects the positions athletes play, and whether that varies across the US football setting and the international rugby setting. They're also examining questions like whether characteristics of where players come from affect their willingness to travel farther from home for an athletic scholarship, whether they transfer out of their original school, and the quality of the team they play for. They are especially interested in how hometown characteristics do or do not interact with players' ethnicity. Students on this project have presented papers at conferences in San Diego and Montreal, have received ORCA grants, have gotten course credit for working on the project, and have been accepted into PhD programs.

 

Lance Erickson

With Dr. Dufur, Dr. Phillips, and Dr. Jarvis, Dr. Erikson is looking at how socio-economic status affects educational performance, inequality, and advantage across countries using the National Center for Education Statistics' Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) data.

Lance Erickson, Kristie Phillips, Mikaela Dufur and Jonathan Jarvis are looking at how the use of shadow education in East-Asian nations, the countries with the highest educational scores in the world, affects their educational performances using the National Center for Education Statistics' Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) data. 

International Education Gaps

Professors Phillips, Erickson, Dufur, and Jarvis are working on a project looking at country-level test scores on math and reading tests. News outlets often complain about the United States being 37th in the world in math scores, while countries like Finland and Singapore score much higher. But how big a difference is there between the scores in those countries? Some scholars have suggested that the reason for the United States’ relatively low scores is because of the country’s relatively high levels of diversity and the large gap between rich and poor students, but these explanations have rarely been tested. These professors’ work combines data from the Programme for International Student Assessment and the Luxembourg Income Study to test these questions. Among other results, they have found that the US’s richest and poorest students perform at the international average, while students from the middle of the income range perform below average. They’ve also shown that country-level policies and inequality affect individual students’ scores. Students who have worked on this project have presented in Philadelphia, Japan, and Switzerland.

Aging and Health

As the population ages rapidly with the baby boom cohort reaching retirement age, cognitive decline and dementia (e.g., Alzheimer's disease) have the potential to become a public health epidemic. Despite significant advancements in understanding cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease, there remains much to be learned and no treatments for most types of dementias have been identified. The Life & Family Legacies Study, beginning in 1966 with a representative sample of high school juniors and seniors in Washington State, is being leveraged to understand the role of early-, mid-, and later-life correlates of cognitive decline. With the recent addition of genetic information on the participants, we will be examining the role of lifetime correlates of cognitive decline in the context of genetic predispositions to cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease to ask which experiences trigger genetic predispositions or protect individuals from the expression of genetic predispositions.

 

Benjamin Gibbs

With Dr. Jarvis, Dr. Gibbs is looking at whether parenting differences can explain the Asian advantage in cognitive skills in young children using the National Center for Education Statistics' Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort (ECLS-B) data.

 

Jonathan Jarvis

Using interview data, Dr. Jarvis is examining the various global educational strategies that have been used to obtain global cultural and social capital. In particular, he is focusing on the experience of studying at foreign universities and the rewards for obtaining a foreign degree in local markets.

Dr. Jarvis is mentoring a student who is looking at access to health care and mental health disorders among North Korean refugees using interview data.

With Dr. Gibbs, Dr. Jarvis is looking at whether parenting differences can explain the Asian advantage in cognitive skills in young children using the National Center for Education Statistics' Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort (ECLS-B) data.

With Dr. Dufur, Dr. Phillips, and Dr. Erickson, Dr. Jarvis is looking at how socio-economic status affects educational performance, inequality, and advantage across countries using the National Center for Education Statistics' Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) data.

International Family Structure and Transitions Project

Professors Dufur, Phillips, and Jarvis (along with Shana Pribesh at Old Dominion University) are working on a project looking at how family structure transitions affect child and adolescent outcomes. This project uses multiple data sets to examine how family structure and disruptions affect children’s lives. The particular focus of the project is comparative, examining potential differences in the effects of family structure and disruption across different cultures. For example, does it make any difference if a child adds a parent compared to losing a parent? Is having multiple transitions worse than having one major life change? They are currently looking at US, UK, and German data to examine the effect of family transitions on young children’s behavior problems, but have also presented work on sleep problems and bedwetting. They hope to add Australian, Canadian, Korean, and Japanese data for comparative purposes. Students who have worked on the project have presented papers at conferences in Philadelphia and Switzerland and have received ORCA grants. With so many data sets to juggle, they are always looking for students with data skills to work for course credit, co-authorship (sometimes including travel to present at conferences), or, when the stars really align, a paid job.

Lance Erickson, Kristie Phillips, Mikaela Dufur and Jonathan Jarvis are looking at how the use of shadow education in East-Asian nations, the countries with the highest educational scores in the world, affects their educational performances using the National Center for Education Statistics' Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) data.

 

Hayley Pierce

Professor Pierce is studying the sociology of family, health, and gender, with particular attention to maternal and child health and well-being. This often includes the relationship between health care, policy, community, and the status of women and how that influences utilization of health services. Professor Pierce is looking at how refugee status in Jordan affects reproductive and child health using the Demographic and Health Survey data. Also using that data, Professor Pierce is looking at the effects of education, wealth, and urban residence on health center births in Cambodia, and on postnatal care in Kenya, Lesotho, Sierra Leone, and Zambia.

Domestically, Professor Pierce is looking at how child care affects maternal play and affection, with an additional project looking at multiple causes of death involving both a maternal mortality cause and drug use (both prescription and illegal), considering maternal age, variation by state, and change over time.

 

Jacob Rugh 

 Location, Location, Location: The Sociology of Recession Recovery