Research and Internship Opportunities

Current opportunities for research and internships are listed below. They vary greatly, ranging from simple but repetitive tasks done by untrained or inexperienced students in support of research, to opportunities for more advanced students to write papers or proposals about the research, either alone or with the supervising researcher.

Please read the descriptions and attached documents (if any) carefully before applying. Please also note the Term for which the research or internship is available.

Term: Fall 2018
Status: Open
UPDATE October 2, 2018: The project is now also in need of speakers of Vietnamese and French.
Contact: Please contact Jienian Zhang to apply for this position. Include “SOC 357 Application” in the subject line of your email. Interested students should send their name, their linguistic background, and a short statement on what part of the study draws them to apply.
Description: The project aims to offer a comprehensive understanding of ESL (English as a Second Language) services at a high school. ESL services are designed based on strict guidelines and student-based needs. The project attempts to understand how ESL staff and regular teachers as well as EL (English Learner) students experience the inherent paradox of ESL service – that of standardization and individualization.
I will conduct about a total of 20 one-hour interviews with multilingual education staff, regular teachers whose classrooms and after-school programs are being observed, as well as the principals, the vice principals and other school staff in leadership roles. RAs and I will conduct a total of 30 one-hour interviews with students. RAs and I will also conduct a total of 30 one-hour interviews with parents. Interview questions will include topics such as basic demographic information, attitudes towards and experiences with school, extra curricula participation, and opinions on what affects academic performance.
(1) conducting interviews in a non-English language they are proficient in, on a need-basis (currently, Spanish is needed; however students with other linguistic backgrounds are also encouraged to apply)
(2) transcribing interviews conducted in English
(3) transcribing interviews conducted in non-English languages and translating the transcripts into English
(4) translating research materials for participants as needed
Allocation of the above tasks is based on the student’s own language expertise.
All students, regardless of tasks assigned, are expected to:
(5) write weekly research memos
(6) submit weekly timesheets
(7) participate in bi-weekly meetings.
Linguistic Note:
(1) If students only feel comfortable operating in English, the tasks will only involve listening to audio-recorded interviews in English and transcribing them -— no translation is required.
(2) Students who are multilingual are invited not only to conduct interviews in a non-English language they feel comfortable speaking and writing in, listen to and transcribe audio-recorded interviews conducted by RAs themselves, but also to translate materials. Students should feel comfortable with written and oral communication in both the needed language and English.
* Please note: this is not an opportunity for practicing using a language but rather a research opportunity focusing on interview skills, transcription skills, etc. Multilingual students should already feel comfortable operating in two or more languages, such as when speaking and writing.
(3) If interested, students will also have the opportunity to conduct literature reviews and perform data coding/analysis.
Preferred qualities in students:
(1) attention to details
(2) some experience in translating (not required)
(3) some substantive interest in the project (not required)
Students may be able to continue this work in Spring 2019.

Term: Fall 2018
Status: Open
Faculty: Prof. Pamela Oliver
Description: The Dynamics of Black Protests 1994-2010. Students will will spend most of their time coding news stories that refer to Black protests during this time period. The work requires access to a computer and the internet. Students will also be assigned articles to read about Black protests and protest research, and will be expected to check in weekly.
Requirements: The ability to read news articles in English with good understanding of idiomatic English writing. Accuracy and attention to detail are essential. We prefer sociology or other social science or media studies majors, and prefer students who have taken a basic research methods class. Students from disadvantaged or historically underrepresented groups are especially encouraged to apply.
Check here for further details: 1184-Oliver-320

Term: Fall 2018
Status: Open
Contact: Please contact Nona Gronert with your resume and cover letter to apply for this position.
Description: This is a hands-on course focusing on archival social science research and content analsysis. As a Research Assistant (RA), you will be learning and using a coding manual to analyze newspaper articles from The Badger Herald and The Daily Cardinal. This ultimately will result in constructing (1) a timeline of events related to sexual violence at UW Madison and (2) a directory of key individuals involved with the issue of sexual assault at UW Madison. RAs are expected to code articles, write weekly research memos, and attend weekly research meetings.
Requirements: Students will (1) learn how to use NVivo, (2) participate in research team reliability checks, (3) learn how to use the coding manual, (4) individually code articles, (5) write weekly research memos, and (6) participate in weekly research team meetings. Preferred qualities:
– ability to work independently
– attention to detail
– critical thinking skills
– SOC 375 Research Methods (or equivalent)
– strong written and verbal communication

Term: Fall 2018
Status: Open
Contact: Send application to Jake Carlson Applicants should include a paragraph description of their background, relevant courses taken, and their level of familiarity with computer software. Candidates will then be interviewed over Skype.
Description: This project looks at the causes and consequences of gentrification and displacement – and how they vary between different places. It will test the hypothesis that the conditions for gentrification and housing insecurity differ by local city and neighborhood contexts. There are two main jobs:
(1) quantitative analysis using Census data to identify gentrifying neighborhoods in the US, as well as collecting and analyzing variables for city-level contexts. Knowledge of R is preferred, but Stata is also acceptable if the student is very proficient.
(2) Qualitative/meta analysis of the existing literature on gentrification and displacement to create a systematic database of how the concepts have been defined and operationalized.
Needed: Two students, 1-2 credits available.

Term: Fall 2018
Status: Open
Contact: Chloe Haimson
Description: This research project examines the decisions parole agents make during their everyday work routines and how these choices influence the life trajectories of people they supervise after prison. It also investigates the challenges they and people on parole face during the supervision period. Based on interviews with agents, my study asks: 1) How do parole officers support people on parole during the process of reentry from prison into society? 2) How do officers decide to respond to individuals’ violation of their parole conditions? 3) How do dominant discourses about protecting public safety versus providing support to formerly incarcerated people impact the daily work of agents?
Duties: Students will primarily be responsible for transcribing audio-recorded interviews. If there is interest, they will also have the opportunity to conduct literature reviews, as well as complete preliminary data analysis tasks.
Needed: Up to three students, 1-3 credits available.
Requirements and How to Apply: (A) Students should have completed Sociology 357 (Research Methods) or its equivalent. An interest in criminal justice issues and qualitative research analysis is preferred but not required. (B) Applicants should provide a statement of background and interest that includes information about their academic background and year at UW. Upon acceptance of the position, applicant may have to complete a background check in order to have access to the project’s data (as per the instructor’s data agreement with the Department of Corrections).