Kim Voss, Professor

Closed (1) Frontline Workers: What do they think about their jobs?

Closed. This professor is continuing with Spring 2021 apprentices on this project; no new apprentices needed for Fall 2021.

Frontline foodservice and retail workers have a complex relationship with their work. They typically make low wages, receive few benefits, are expected to work without a stable schedule, while also interacting with customers, coworkers, and managers. But how do these workers see their jobs? What do they like and dislike about them? The project examines how low-wage foodservice and retail workers evaluate their job quality.

Using data scraped from Glassdoor.com as well as an original survey, the project collects and analyzes free-text responses to questions about the Pros and Cons of working at a company, as well as advice to management about things that could be changed. This approach is unique in that it allows workers to discuss their jobs from their own point of view, identifying aspects of work that researchers may otherwise have missed. Qualitatively coded text will be used to train models for automated text analysis. The project is meant to make it easier to classify workers concerns without relying on traditional survey questions.

Work on this project will mainly include qualitative coding of written text, reading and categorizing what workers have written. Those who are interested in the methodology can also work on coding strategies, inter-coder reliability measures, and computational text analysis. Students will also be free to study substantive topics of interests including, but not limited to, social relationships in the workplace, worker power, and wages and benefits.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Adam Storer, Ph.D. candidate

Qualifications: Any interested student is welcome to apply.

Weekly Hours: 3-5 hrs

Off-Campus Research Site: Students will conduct work in their own workspace, and meet on Zoom to discuss findings every 1-2 weeks throughout the semester.

Closed (2) Demo Watch: Revolutionizing the Study of Protest Policing

Applications for fall 2021 are now closed for this project.

2020 and 2021 made it abundantly clear that not all protests are policed the same way. This summer, Black Lives Matter protests across America were met with police in body armor often carrying assault weapons; they faced tear gas, pepper spray, and mass arrests. On January 6th, on the other hand, right-wing protesters walked into the Capitol building largely unimpeded by lightly-equipped police.


We know that social movements are policed differently depending on the race of their participants and the issues they promote. But even for the same movements, the picture is not so simple. This project examines Occupy Wall Street, a movement in 2011 that set up encampments in cities around the country to protest growing wealth inequality. In some places, encampments were shut down with substantial violence and arrests; in other places, the movement demonstrated for months without incident. Even within the same cities, some days police and protesters cooperated to keep demonstrations peaceful, and then weeks later relations deteriorated with dangerous results.


This project is harnessing the tools of crowdsourced science to collect a dataset of unprecedented detail and accuracy in order to better understand the precise chains of events that lead to police use of force at demonstrations (you can learn more at the links below). We will use it to develop models that will allow both police and protesters to make decisions that avoid the use of force in the future.


URAP apprentices will contribute to this effort through analyzing (or “Tagging”) articles on the Occupy movement through TagWorks, a platform developed by Goodly Labs (potential apprentices can try a training version of the platform here). In addition, Taggers will help give feedback on how to improve the process and adapt the software for use analyzing other social movements. During the semester, apprentices will meet every 1-2 weeks to discuss their findings and learn more about existing research on protest policing.

At the end of the semester, consistent contributors may also have a chance to shift to working on other aspects of the project in future semesters. This could include managing volunteers and curating data from the general public, developing “Tagging” questionnaires for analyzing other aspects of the Occupy Movement, and participating in the data science and analysis aspects of the project.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Alex Barnard, PhD (Professor of Sociology) and Nick Adams, Phd (Chief Scientist of Goodly Labs), Post-Doc

Qualifications: Qualifications: Any interested student is welcome to apply. Weekly Hours: 3 hrs (1 credit) or 6 hrs (2 credits

Weekly Hours: 3-5 hrs

Off-Campus Research Site: Off-Campus Research Site: Students will conduct work in their own workspace, and meet on Zoom to discuss findings every 1-2 weeks throughout the semester.

Related website: https://www.goodlylabs.org/demo-watch