Quantitative Methods

Advances in quantitative methodology have allowed us to broaden and refine the types of questions we can address.  These developments provide us with new and powerful ways to connect our theoretical models to empirical evidence.  Members of our faculty use a broad range of data collection and data analysis techniques.  Because our department features considerable strength in quantitative methods, we are able to offer several different options for students interested in building various levels of expertise.

A hallmark of graduate education in Sociology at Penn State is strong training in quantitative research methods. This training emphasis is promoted by the large number of department faculty with specialized training in quantitative methods, by the availability of twelve regularly offered quantitative methods graduate courses, and by providing the opportunity to earn a Certificate in Quantitative Methods. 

In addition to the Department of Sociology quantitative methods program, a Doctoral Minor in Applied Statistics, awarded by the Department of Statistics, is also available for more advanced training.  Students can be directly involved in planning and attending the Population Research Institute (PRI) Graduate Student Methodology Workshops. Other programs and training opportunities on campus include the annual Clogg Lecture co-organized by the Departments of Sociology and Statistics, the Survey Research Center, and the Methodology Center in the College of Health and Human Development.

Finally, some students aspire to be quantitative methodologists. Their goals include developing innovative approaches for investigating key sociological questions, contributing to the refinement or elaboration of current approaches, and engaging in constructive debates about how our models and methods can be improved.  With the approval of the DGS, students may choose to designate Quantitative Methodology as an area of specialization within the Sociology department.