My research looks at how demographic characteristics influence knowledge production, consumption, and use. I explore these ideas in a few main substantive areas: inequalities in scientific careers, inequalities in factual knowledge, and — most recently — knowledge about climate change among people with disabilities. A natural complement to these interests is a focus on methodological and process questions around open and reproducible social science. Below you can find my papers and reports grouped by topic. 

Inequalities in the Production of Knowledge: 

Science of Science

One branch of my research program seeks to understand how demographics influence the production of new knowledge. I operationalize this by investigating inequalities in the academic workplace, using publishing as a case study.

One important component of understanding who "owns" knowledge is understanding who takes the credit for the creation of new knowledge. With the support of a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship, I worked with an interdisciplinary team to study gender inequalities in the academic workplace, using academic publishing as a case study. Our network analyses of citation patterns in 1.5 million JSTOR research articles find that women academics are underrepresented in the prestige positions of first and sole author and significantly less likely to cite their own previous work.  My findings have implications for academic career paths for women, through ramifications for cumulative disadvantage. This research has been covered by Nature News, The Washington Post, The Times of London, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, promoting a public conversation about inequality and gender research. Both articles on gender and science are in the top 5% of all research articles discussed by non-scientists (according to metrics from and both have been extensively covered by the news media, underscoring my commitment to public sociology.

New research explores the social processes underpinning the generation and diffusion of knowledge and innovation in global collaborative science networks. With collaborator Megan Frederickson, I have looked at gender disparities in academic scientist's productivity during the COVID-19 pandemic. We find that many academic women have experienced reduced productivity relative to men during the pandemic. The paper was in the top 25% of all research outputs discussed through social media and news outlets according to Altmetric. With collaborator Kjersten Whittington, I investigated differences in men's and women's international research collaboration networks across time and fields. Moving forward, Whittington, Frederickson, and I have received a National Science Foundation grant for our multi-year planned project to investigate differences in men's and women's international research collaboration networks.

A second project in this area studies how identities influence social science knowledge. I collaborated with sociologists Jeffrey Lockhart and Christin Munsch to design a survey to gather detailed demographic data on over 20,000 social science authors. Our first manuscript looking at the biases of name-based demographic inference is published at Nature Human Behavior.

Inequalities in the Consumption of Knowledge: 

Climate Change & Disability

Never before has such a wealth of information been so immediately accessible to so many and yet the filtering demands so high. Information truly is power; who possesses it and wields it most effectively has profound consequences for inequality and human welfare. The second arm of my research program turns the tables and looks at how demographic identities influence information acquisition and use.

With a pivot from studying health inequalities (on which I have published reports in the past), I am studying how information influences adaptation and resilience in novel contexts. Deepening my existing expertise in this area, I have collected 40 qualitative interviews studying how disability affects people's ability to cope with climate change via information seeking. At the intersection of these two topics lie important questions: how does identity influence information seeking? Do prior experiences with disability make people more or less resilient in the face of climate disaster? With a twist on studying health inequalities, I am pursuing how information influences adaptation in novel contexts.

My article in Sociology Compass introduces a critical realist model of disability climate justice by synthesizing the relationships between the environmental features that disable, risk perception and information seeking, and adaptive capacity and resilience to climate change. In understanding the vulnerability and adaptive capacity of people with disabilities to climate change, this review synthesizes research on one of the U.S.’s largest minority communities with the goals of better understanding how vulnerable populations cope with climate change and integrating them into climate action and policy. Our teaching and learning guide in the same journal suggests ideas for implementing disability and climate change into the college curriculum. Student Research Assistants have been involved in this project from as co-authors, demonstrating my commitment to a lab model of mentoring the next generation of scholars.

Understanding the Generation of Knowledge: 

Methodological and Learning Research

My scholarship of teaching and learning and methodological work constitute a third branch of my research program, which seeks to understand how knowledge is generated. Advancing research on social science methodology is a natural extension of my research on knowledge inequality and previous work on reproducibility and transparency.

As a scholar employing large data sets in my research, I have conducted research on the challenges facing reproducible and open social science. Together with Jeremy Freese, I studied how institutions and research infrastructure constrain and enable efforts toward greater transparency in social science. We make numerous research-based recommendations for policy and institutional change at various levels to promote a healthy social science ecosystem. 

I've developed a new imputation method called REDI to empirically estimate continuous values for binned income data. I also published an open-access Stata package that researchers can download to implement the REDI method in their own work.

My scholarship of teaching and learning also explores the production of knowledge in SCU’s teacher-scholar model. An undergraduate collaborator and I studied how sociology faculty work with RAs in primarily undergraduate institutions, resulting in a paper describing the benefits and challenges of RA-faculty relationships and another that looks at the processes that are used to facilitate these faculty-directed research collaborations.