The Center for Social Science Research (CSSR) is an interdisciplinary center that supports the teaching of many fundamental methodologies of social science field research. The CSSR trains students how to learn from communities in ways that allow for a deeper understanding and connection with individuals in those communities. This training gives students the tools to take on community-based research projects and understand local cultures.
In addition to providing students with the appropriate cultural skills, the CSSR helps train future social scientists in field research by assisting in methodological training, theoretical understanding and engaging in researching to answer the important questions. Researchers should strive to become effective interlocutors in the communities with which they engage, and CSSR assists students in entering communities so that they can learn research methods in a community-centered way.
In the social sciences, we understand “the field” to be a heuristic device rather than a physical location. Besides doing research in different communities, social scientists create their field though their growing understanding of their own research goals and the ways that people interact within that space. Observant researchers constantly adjust their interactions with space to fit their methodologies.
How We Work
The center supports a critical exploration of social issues and better understanding of society through the application of interdisciplinary, qualitative and quantitative social science methodologies. In particular, we provide programming and resources that directly support social science faculty and students in their diverse research and teaching initiatives. These resources, and the center’s interdepartmental space, serve to facilitate ongoing engagement across social science disciplines with a wide range of research methods, including open-ended interviews, ethnography, statistical analysis and field surveys.
The center also prioritizes research projects that focus on collaboration with community partners, engage local expertise and promote dialogue on research ethics. The center thereby aims to support the tenets of Bucknell University’s Mission Statement by serving the common good and promoting justice in ways that are sensitive to the moral and ethical dimensions of life. Ultimately, this approach prepares our students to carry their methodological training forward into a range of careers and community involvement efforts.