Claude Fischer, Professor

Closed (1) Social networks over time

Applications for Spring 2018 are now closed for this project.

Interested in learning more about survey research while better understanding how personal networks affect well-being? Join the UCNets project! You will learn how a large survey project operates, working with the Principal Investigator, Prof Claude Fischer, and a team of faculty, post-doctoral fellows and graduate students on a survey about the social relations and activities of 21-30 year olds and 50-70 year olds in the Bay Area.

URAP students will assist the research team with a variety of projects, including coding open-ended survey comments about networks and analyzing survey data. Students with a statistical background may participate in a mentored research project on perceptions of weight and attractiveness, personal relations and health, uses of internet media, pets in social networks, or a topic of your choice. You will also participate in a seminar that meets every other week on Fridays from 10 AM – 12 noon. For more information, visit the project website:

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Leora Lawton, Staff Researcher

Qualifications: Upper division, with coursework in qualitative research. Extra plus for quantitative research experience. Familiarity and experience in survey research a plus. Preference will be given to students interested in social networks, health, and with an interest in pursuing graduate school in social science research.

Weekly Hours: 6-9 hrs

Related website:

Closed (2) Portraits of Gentrification: When Neighborhood Change Becomes News

Closed. This professor is continuing with Fall 2017 apprentices on this project; no new apprentices needed for Spring 2018.

This project explores media portrayals of gentrification to understand the depictions that influence Americans’ perceptions. In particular, the study investigates the type of neighborhood change depicted as gentrification, what stakeholders are given voice, how race is portrayed in the process, and how the answers to these questions vary over time (1990 to 2014) and place (San Francisco/Oakland compared with Baltimore).

Students participating in this project will gain experience in the data collection process and insight into how data collection connects with broader research analyses. Individual assignments include identifying relevant newspaper articles in microfilm and managing and organizing newspaper files.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Zawadi Rucks Ahidiana, Ph.D. candidate

Qualifications: Students should be detail-oriented and organized. Basic computer literacy is required. The 6-9 hours of work must happen some time M-F between 10am and 6pm due to the hours at which the microfilm library is open. Thus, students must have availability that overlaps with those times. This research project has no course prerequisites and is open to all class levels. Social science and humanities students with an interest in urban studies, race, and media studies are encouraged to apply.

Weekly Hours: 6-9 hrs

Closed (3) Congregations and Competition: The Births and Deaths of Religious Congregations in Manhattan, 1915–2011

Applications for Spring 2018 are now closed for this project.

People have known for centuries that firms compete, driving one another out of business. This project asks whether the same phenomenon occurs among religious congregations. The project involves documenting the founding and the disbandment of congregations, as well as their mergers and acquisitions, in the Manhattan borough of New York City from 1915 to 2011. What is it that makes some houses of worship more likely to survive than others?

Undergraduates involved with this project will aid in gathering data on religious congregations from websites and other sources, and also will aid in entering information into a spreadsheet. Thus, students will gain first-hand experience in gathering data and recording the data, which are the first two steps of the process of doing original empirical research.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Casey Homan, Ph.D. candidate

Qualifications: The most important qualification for participation in this project is attention to detail. Students also should should have excellent organizational skills. This project is open to undergraduates of all years and all majors, and there are not any prerequisites. Students who are interested in sociology or other social sciences, in the study of organizations, or in the academic study of religion would be best suited for this project.

Weekly Hours: 6-9 hrs