Degree & Year in the Program
2nd year PhD
Kristen Olson, Jolene Smyth
Areas of Specialization
Survey research methodologies, quantitative research methodologies
I am a second year Doctoral student in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Sociology department. Before coming to UNL, I earned my BA in sociology with a minor in statistics from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. I received my MA in Sociology from UNL in 2020. My Master’s thesis, which was advised by Dr. Kristen Olson, examined how interviewer speaking pace is associated with respondent speaking pace. I found that a faster interviewer speaking pace is associated with a faster respondent speaking pace, but that the magnitude of this effect is not very great. I am currently working on revising my thesis for publication.
My primary research interests are within survey methodology, with particular interest in interviewer effects within survey interviews and in mode and device effects within web surveys. I also examine effects of visual design and other self-administered questionnaire characteristics on data quality and the response process of respondents. Broadly, my dissertation will assess the differences in web survey usability across mobile device operating systems. I plan to assess differences in indicators of usability and in measurement error indicators across mobile operating systems.
In the Summer of 2020 I worked as a virtual Survey Methods Intern at Westat (Rockville, MD), where I was involved in two projects that examined the performance of new survey questions added to a previously-existing survey as well as the effectiveness of a machine-learning software in transcribing interview speech into text.
I am the current president of the Nebraska Association for Sociology Graduate Students (NASGS), which is the registered student organization that provides training and support for sociology graduate students at UNL. I am also the co-chair of the Research Working Group, a committee within NASGS that is designed to help support the research endeavors of sociology graduate students.
I am a current instructor of record for the online asynchronous section of Introduction to Social Research II (SOCI 206), which is the undergraduate statistics course in the UNL sociology department. The goals of this course are to help students manage, analyze, and interpret quantitative data in the social sciences.
Although I’ve only lived in Nebraska for a short while, I have come to love it along with the UNL Sociology department. While graduate school can be incredibly challenging, it has been a breath of fresh air to have the social support offered by my fellow graduate students in the department. I feel incredibly lucky to be a part of such a supportive department! When I’m not in my office working on a research project, I can be found baking various baked goods that I see on the Great British Bake Off, crocheting another blanket that I don’t have the space to store, or riding my bike through the many bike trails in town.
Instructor of record: SOCI 206 Introduction to Social Research II (Fall 2021)
Recitation instructor: SOCI 101 Introduction to Sociology