The 2012 Sociological Research Practicum (SRP) on Social Status, Consumption, and Happiness will extend research on cultural consumption to consider consumption more generally. In particular, it will explore how processes of social comparison might vary for people in different social locations (e.g., gender, race, class) and how styles of consumption and processes of social comparison shape life satisfaction.
A team of undergraduate and graduate students will be trained by the Center for Survey Research to conduct national telephone interviews. Topics covered by the interviews include: subjects’ participation in a range of cultural activities, the direction and intensity of social comparison in various domains, life satisfaction and self-assessed health, experience of time, and reasons for, and barriers to, participation in cultural activities.
The SRP will begin immediately after the spring semester and will continue for between 6 and 8 weeks. Depending on the number of credits a student wishes to earn (1 – 6 credits can be earned, if indeed a student wants to do this for academic credit) SRP team members should expect to spend between 10 and 15 hours a week conducting interviews (more as higher level of credits are pursued). The course is a nice change of pace from regular classes because it’s mostly independent work (i.e., conducting the interviews). In addition, it works well for many students’ summer schedules because the interviews are in the evening. Most importantly, it gives students an opportunity to do real research instead of just hearing about it. Students also will have an opportunity to work with these data later in the summer or the following year and use these for other independent studies, papers, and presentations at regional and national meeting if they are interested. Depending on how involved students want to be, they can develop a wide range of skills—among them, interviewing, learning what makes a good survey, transcribing, learning how to analyze closed-ended questions, and learning how to do qualitative analysis of open-ended items—that will be useful in graduate school and in the workplace.
Undergraduates can choose to register for SOC S491 (Undergraduate SRP), SOC S494 (Internship), or SOC S495 (Research and Readings in Sociology). If interested in this possibility, please contact Professor Art Alderson (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Kristin Jordan (email@example.com). If wanting to earn academic credit for this internship experience a student will need to sign a SOC S491, SOC S494, or SOC S495 form so please make sure you indicate interest in academic credit when contacting us.