Have you ever read an article online and then Googled something within that reading and kept doing that until you had 30 tabs open and ended up on Wikipedia reading about Émile Durkheim and solidarity? If so, you would enjoy working with Dr. Terri Winnick, an Associate Professor of Sociology at Ohio State Mansfield. When she wants to learn more about something, she takes a similar approach—except her tabs are people and she’s browsing the links of Sociology.
“I’m the type of person who just likes to chase an idea,” Dr. Winnick explains. “It’s more work, but it’s more entertaining!”
Sociology is another way to see “the big picture” and how “we influence each other.” Dr. Winnick has helped students research a broad range of sociological topics by guiding them to “observe the population” for patterns and “see what develops.” Some of the many research topics students have undertaken with Dr. Winnick include White Male Privilege and black stereotypes among convicts, Islamophobia, gun control, solidarity amongst small communities, and how housing crises affect ethnic traditions and communities.
When you collect your own sociological data and enter the findings into a statistical software program, “it’s just different” than when you’ve calculated data that has been given to you. All the sudden, you realize it’s your data. “There’s something exciting about that,” she says. “You hit the button and—Look! There’s something significant! This is significant!”
Part of Dr. Winnick’s research focuses on social deviants and the prison population. “I just really like that population,” she says. “I think that it’s one that not many people know about.There’s a tremendous stereotype, but they’re so grateful to anybody who will treat them like a real person.” She is currently working with Dr. Shelly Kowalski in researching the “anticipation of stigma and coping strategies” of the prison population.
If you would like to browse the links of Sociology, Dr. Winnick would be interested in helping you! Visit her office in Ovalwood 349 or send her an email to discuss your ideas. Class prerequisites to research with her include Introductory Sociology (Sociology 1101), though it is preferable that students have also taken Research Methods in Sociology (Sociology 3487).