Sociology ranks 21st in country in research productivity

A recent report on research productivity published in Footnotes, the official newsletter of the American Sociological Association, ranked the Emory sociology department number 21 out of more than 300 graduate programs in the country.

The report, written partly in response to the National Research Council's (NRC) 1993 reputation rankings of graduate departments, based its rankings on the total number of publications during 1991-95 in what are widely accepted as the top three journals in sociology: the American Sociological Review, the American Journal of Sociology and Social Forces.

"There has been a debate between `subjective' rankings such as those based on reputations among peers and `objective' rankings such as those based on research output," said author Yoshinori Kamo of Louisiana State University. According to Director of Graduate Studies Terry Boswell, Emory's sociology department was not evaluated in the NRC rankings because of the then-small size of the graduate program.

"While this Footnotes ranking does not include books, specialty publications or other indicators of research productivity, it is a clear indicator of quality research," said Boswell. "It is particularly useful for comparing the productivity of places such as Emory where the sociology department has been built almost exclusively by hiring junior faculty, who rarely bring a reputation or body of past work to the department." Boswell said that the rankings "actually understate the productivity of the Emory faculty, as our department is the second smallest on the list."

Boswell provided an additional table that used the NRC data on numbers of faculty and the Footnotes data on number of publications and ranked graduate programs by the ratio of publications to the number of faculty in the program. When the size of the department was taken into account, Emory actually ranked ninth in the country.

"Whether ranked number 21 or number nine, we were happy to see the recognition of our productivity," said Boswell. "This puts Emory in the company of other prestigious programs such as Chicago, Harvard, Cornell, Stanford, North Carolina and Columbia."

-- Nancy M. Spitler

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