research interests

measurement of normative behavior

My research on the measurement and mis-measurement of normative behavior applies (sociological) social psychological theory to the process of collecting survey data. I have investigated overreporting of religious behavior, including church attendance and prayer, by comparing survey responses to reports from time diaries. My research also investigates the overreporting of physical exercise, comparing survey data to higher quality reports from SMS text messages (with John DeLamater). Both branches of this research program use measures of identity prominence (the subjective value of the focal identity to the individual) as a predictor of survey error. More recently, I have analyzes respondents’ narratives gleaned from cognitive interviews to understand the proximal causes of measurement error which give insight into the distal causes of religious change.

error, nonresponse, & data quality

Beyond studies of bias in measures of normative behavior, like religious service attendance, prayer, voting, and physical activity, my research has focused on other survey errors. These include a recent study of nonresponse bias funded by the National Science Foundation, a comparison of question formats on reporting of sexual orientation and gender identity, and a study of language, ethnicity, and acculturation on reports of subjective health and satisfaction with health care services.

self, identity, & survey research

In addition to applying identity theory in the investigation of measurement error, I have also pursued the further development of identity theory and its application to social processes. Much of this work has been focused on better understanding the role that identity prominence plays in identity theory (with Richard Serpe and Sheldon Stryker). Other applications of identity theory are being pursued, including the integration of identity and self-efficacy theories (with Richard Serpe and Sheldon Stryker) and understanding the role identity plays in the establishment of a professional identity (with Jan Stets, Peter Burke, and Richard Serpe).