“By doing research, I learned I liked it.” That’s how undergraduate student Emily sums up her research experience in professor Amy Blackstone’s Logic of Sociological Inquiry class. What began as a class assignment evolved into a completed research project and a published paper about her project in the American Sociological Association’s Contexts magazine. Emily carried out her research on the expression of gender in young girls and boys by observing their natural play. When asked how she came up with the idea for her project, Emily pointed to previous work she had done in another class (Sociology of Gender) exploring gender and parent roles. It seemed a natural progression to follow up on earlier work by combining it with her interest in children. Through her project, Emily determined that classic gender roles are present in play early in child development, and these roles can be interpreted, in part, in the context of societal expectations.
- How did you get started with UG research project?
The process of conducting the research, from reading the literature, designing a study, and collecting and analyzing data helped Emily to incorporate a sociological viewpoint into her everyday life and provided the opportunity to think about children and gender in new ways. “I hadn’t really thought about doing research…but enjoyed it more than I thought.”
On the process Emily went through, mentor Professor Amy Blackstone states: “Our research methods class is one of the department’s most feared courses. As the instructor, nothing is more satisfying than watching students like Emily come through it not only understanding and successfully applying what they’ve learned, but actually enjoying the process!”
When asked if she would recommend conducting research to other undergraduates, Emily says emphatically, “If you get the opportunity, take it!”