Every graduate student is required to sign up for at least three credits of research experience, either through writing a thesis (SOC 490) or research practicum (SOC 413). This is usually done in the second year of the program. The research practicum involves either working directly with a faculty member on his or her research project, or a placement in a community agency to carry out a research project needed by that agency.
In the case of community agency research, placements are worked out individually for each student, in consultation with the graduate advisor, based on the student's interests and project availability. The student will be graded on both the quality of the report and an evaluation by the agency supervisor. Regular consultation with the faculty advisor is an essential component of the practicum.
Examples of Research Practicum Projects carried out by Sociology MA students:
- Health needs assessments -- St. Luke's University Hospital and Lehigh Valley Health Network
- Survey of bicycle use / availability of bicycle parking on Lehigh campus
- Survey of recycling practices by Bethlehem restaurants
- Data management for Lehigh Valley Research Consortium population database
- Study of Lehigh employees for Human Resources
- Study of service learning programs at Lehigh and other universities
- Analysis of data on clients -- Lehigh County pre-trial Services
Students can also fulfill their research practicum by working directly with a faculty member on an active faculty research project. Like the community agency placements, these are set up individually based on the interests of the student and the needs of the faculty member. On occasion students have worked with faculty in other departments such as Marketing. Working on projects in the Social Science Research Center also can fulfill this requirement. These projects vary year by year.
Small Research Grants Program
The department provides a limited number of small grants to help support graduate students in their thesis, practicum, or course-related research and for presenting papers at conferences. Applications are evaluated on a rolling basis. The College of Arts and Sciences and the Graduate Life Council also offer small grants to support research and conference presentations.