The Social Science Research Lab (SSRL) is a collaborative research group where undergraduate and graduate students learn and practice the skills of social science research in a team-based setting.
The collaborative approach developed by SSRL focuses on bringing multiple perspectives to the process of asking research questions, developing a research protocol, collecting/analyzing data, and communicating research findings.
Led by Dr. Blake Silver and Lead Research Assistants Sanskar Bista, Fanni Farago, Saahil Iyer, Tharuna Kalaivanan, Maia Punksungka, and Kellie Wilkerson, SSRL represents a partnership between the Department of Sociology & Anthropology, the Honors College, and the Center for Social Science Research. While the lab focuses on social science research, students from any major are invited to join. Currently, SSRL has members from sociology, creative writing, biology, computer science, government, economics, neuroscience, and criminology to name a few. The full lab membership meets once a month during the academic year, with additional ad-hoc meetings for smaller groups to work on focused elements of research projects.
Over the past four years, SSRL has used collaborative approaches to social science research to support several projects on educational transitions. These projects have provided opportunities for students to present work at regional and national conferences for scholars and practitioners, including at the annual meetings of the:
- Eastern Sociological Society (ESS)
- National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Region II & III,
- American Educational Studies Association (AESA),
- American College Personnel Association (ACPA),
- and Mid-South Sociological Association (MSSA),
Moreover, members of SSRL have published their research in several peer reviewed journals. Our recent publications can be found in:
- Qualitative Sociology,
- Journal of Women and Gender in Higher Education,
- Journal of the First-Year Experience & Students in Transition,
- Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice,
- and Journal of College Student Development.
Finally, SSRL emphasizes public sociology, working to include a diverse range of communities in the production of knowledge and to share that knowledge with communities where it can have an impact. For instance, the members of SSRL have developed research workshops for students at Mason, including Sociology Capstone students, the Honors College Peer Mentors, and several OSCAR URSP students. SSRL also shares its findings with practitioners and is currently developing programs to foster dialogue on the experiences of college students.