Sociology RA Opportunity: Meaning Making & Covid

RA Opportunity for Winter 2021 – Meaning-Making during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Sociology graduate student Danny Nolan is looking for a few undergraduate students to help with his study of the social psychology of the COVID-19 Pandemic. This is an unpaid research position but has the option for academic credit!

Using 3 waves of in-depth, qualitative interviews, the purpose of the study is to explore how people are learning to navigate the social world during a global pandemic. The project takes a cognitive social science approach to understand the stories people tell about their experiences and the cultural and community resources they rely on to do so.

Duties will include:

  • Proofing computer generated transcripts while listening to original audio recordings
  • Writing reflective memos identifying themes that emerge from each transcript.
  • Bi-Weekly meetings to discuss emerging findings

Experience gained: 

  • An in-depth understanding of how qualitative interview research is conducted
  • Identifying emerging themes and patterns across multiple interviews
  • Collaborative analysis and conducting research as part of a team
  • Exposure to academic writing


  • Good attention to detail
  • Motivated
  • Comfortable listening to highly personal information shared in the interviews that may be sensitive and/or disturbing. RAs must keep the content of the interviews completely confidential between the research team only.
  • Some computer background
  • Reasonable typing speed
  • Comfortable listening to the audio recordings and correcting transcripts

Time commitment:

  • Varies. In order to earn credit, students need to perform 3 hours of work per week, per credit. You should expect to work at least 9 hours per week (3 credits).
  • The specific responsibilities will depend, in part, on the number of hours per week that the student is able to work, as well as the student’s schedule. 
  • Regular meetings will take place every other week via Zoom (to be arranged).

Equipment needed:

  • Personal computer with internet access and access to Google Drive/Docs
  • Software to play audio files

The study is ongoing, and there will be the opportunity additional work beyond Winter 2021. The first wave of interviews has already been completed, and the second wave will begin in December. A third wave of interviews is scheduled for approximately September 2021. If you are interested, please email Danny Nolan at with the following information: 

  1. Your name
  2. Your class standing
  3. Why you’re interested in joining the project
  4. Include your resume or list separately any relevant coursework and/or research experience.
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