I am a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at Princeton University.
My research focuses on the formal organization of knowledge.
I study techniques that people use to make knowledge and institutions that produce knowledgeable people.
I am also interested in building and improving research infrastructure in the social sciences.
In past and ongoing work, I have built software tools to support collaborative data collection, preparation, and analysis.
My research is generously supported by an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, and has been featured by NPR.
In my dissertation, "The Methodological Imagination", I am investigating the development of methodology in the human sciences. Since the mid-20th century, methodology has become
a specialized professional role, a form of abstract knowledge relating to applied problems, and a set of statistical analysis tools implemented in software.
My first chapters investigate the roots of two methodological frameworks — quasiexperimental research design and theories of measurement validity — and emphasizes the widespread
consumption of methods textbooks across an expanding US higher education ecology. In later chapters, I use large-scale computational analyses of social science replication code to
understand how quantitative researchers produce statistical knowledge.
Works in progress
- Engineering the Credential Society:
Educational credentialing as strategic action in US higher education (with Mitchell Stevens; under review. Working paper available on SocArXiv.)
- Measuring the predictability of life outcomes with a scientific mass collaboration (with Matthew Salganik, Ian Lundberg, Sara McLanahan, and more than 100 co-authors; under review)
- Code as Data: Adapting statistical models of text for analyzing code (in preparation; working paper available by request)
- Cronbach to the Future: Methodological expertise and validity theory in early postwar educational policy evaluation (in preparation)
- Algorithmic operationalization and the "race" variable in empirical economics (in preparation)
- Typesetting effects in scientific evaluation (in preparation)
- Our paper on metadata design for complex surveys (forthcoming at Socius) is available on SocArXiv.
- I worked with a big team of researchers at Princeton's Center for Research on Child Wellbeing to design a new metadata system for the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, a longitudinal birth cohort study widely used in demographic and sociological research.
- I recieved a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation.
- The Fragile Families Challenge was featured on Invisibilia, an NPR program.
- I redesigned the website for the Social Science History Association.
- I was a co-preceptor with Shay O'Brien for SOC 500, the first course in our department's two-semester applied statistics sequence, taught by Matt Salganik.
- An article about the Fragile Families Challenge was featured on the Princeton University homepage.
- With Matt Salganik, Ian Lundberg, and Sara McLanahan, I co-organized the Fragile Families Challenge, a scientific mass-colllaboration involving hundreds of researchers.
- I worked with Michael Yeomans, Justin Reich, Brandon Stewart, and Dustin Tingley using Discourse to construct measures of political polarization in online courses. A paper describing our work is forthcoming in the International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education.
- My software Discourse, a tool for collaborative tagging of discussion forum data, was demoed at MIT Media Lab for ACM Learning@Scale 2017.
- I presented my paper with Mitchell Stevens on the political history of engineering education in Cold War America at SSHA 2016 in Chicago, IL.
- I started graduate school in the Department of Sociology at Princeton University.
- Between September 2014 and July 2016 I worked with Mitchell Stevens and Andreas Paepcke at the Center for Advanced Research through Online Learning (CAROL) at Stanford University. At CAROL, I built data systems for research on online courses.
- I graduated from Stanford University in June 2014 with a B.S. from the Symbolic Systems Program.