Public Sociology Toolkit

The Public Sociology Toolkit is information about the methods and skills we use to study social issues, and work toward social change. Click on a method to learn more. Studies
Performing an in depth analysis on an instance of a place, person, group or phenomenon, in order to illustrate a thesis or principle.

icon.comm.mapCommunity Mapping
Creating a visual map of resources, or phenomena, to empower community members to locate resources, organize, and work for social change.

icon.comm.orgCommunity Organizing
Working with and developing leaders, to organize people with a similar concerns and/or geographic locations to work for social change.

icon.content.analysisContent Analysis
The qualitative or quantitative analysis of texts of various types including writing, images,  recordings and cultural artifacts.

icon.dispute.resDispute Resolution
Working with parties in conflict come to resolutions. Building community through  moderating diverse interests and goals.

The systematic observation and/or description of the customs, norms and interactions of a group, institution or organization.

Providing insight into cause-and-effect relationships by demonstrating how outcomes vary by the application of a test, or treatment.

icon.focusFocus Groups
Guiding a diverse group of people assembled to discuss a research topic, or a community concern, with the goal of gathering opinions and experiences.

icon.grant.writingGrant Writing
Using research and methods to apply for funding from an institution such as
government, a corporation, or a foundation.

icon-literature-reviewLiterature Reviews
Synthesizing academic and/or best practice research into a review organized around themes, concepts or trends.


Needs Assessments
Systematically determining and addressing gaps between a group’s mission or goals and current accomplishments.

icon.parParticipatory Action Research
Understanding the social world, and informing social change, by collaboration with community partners, research and reflection.

icon.policyPolicy Analysis
Systematically analyzing and evaluation governmental or organizational policies to determine best approaches in a diverse society/workforce

icon.evalProgram Evaluation
The systematic acquisition and assessment of information to provide useful feedback about a program, project or product

icon.projectProject Management
Planning, organizing and motivating a team, and resources, through procedures and processes to achieve specific goals for social change.

icon.qual.intQualitative Interviews
Solving research questions, and attempting to understand the social world, through asking people about their points of view and lives. Data Analysis
Using quantitative and qualitative analysis skills to examine data collected, including those from federal or state agencies, or local organizations.

icon.surveySurvey Research
Systematically using questions to collect information about how people feel about a topic, or their behaviors and experiences.


Toolbox icons from Dreamstime Stock Images, 2015.

Creative Commons License
The Public Sociology Toolkit by Meredith Conover-Williams and Janae Teal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at

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