Introduction to Special Section on Capstone Projects in Sociology

Students enrolled in the Sociology Capstone (SOCI 4990) course apply theory and methodological skills learned in previous courses to their own original research. The course begins with a review of fundamental quantitative and qualitative strategies that align with different research questions posed in social science research. Students review contemporary sociological research to gain a better understanding of the structure of empirical papers and the art of writing. The course shifts to an overview of various techniques in data management and the use of SPSS. Students analyze and interpret both qualitative and quantitative data.  The overarching goal of the Sociology Capstone is for students to design and implement theoretically sound, data-driven projects that can be presented at academic conferences and/or submitted for student publication.

The Capstone papers in this issue make important contributions to the discipline of sociology in a number of ways. For instance, student researchers demonstrate that young adults raised by same-sex couples, adoptive parents, or step-parents are no more likely to report verbal sexual coercion or sexual abuse than young adults raised in traditional two-parent families. Students examining bullying motivations found that increased parental involvement lowers the risk for bullying, whereas increased time spent playing video games, increased bullying behaviors. In another paper, students find new ways negative social interaction, school culture, and social media influence bullying behaviors in schools. Finally, using one of the largest longitudinal studies on adolescents in the United States, student researchers find youth diagnosed with ADHD were less likely to be cannabis and alcohol dependent when compared to youth not diagnosed with ADHD.

The two faculty mentors responsible for guiding students through the following capstone projects are Michael Thompson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Sociology and Michael Nino, Teaching Fellow, Department of Sociology. Daniel Rodeheaver, Ph.D., Chair, Department of Sociology and Ozgur Solakoglu, Teaching Assistant, Department of Sociology, also played a vital role in the development and completion of the Capstone papers.