I study knowledge. I'm interested in the public representation of expert knowledge, the political effects of cultural authority, and the rhetorical uses of technical devices. My research is based primarily on archival data, which I analyze using a range of statistical, computational, and interpretive methods.
My dissertation examines the development and effects of methodological style in the US social sciences. Chapters investigate several features of the literary culture of contemporary social research:
- Where did the concepts of "validity" and "reliability" originate, and how do they differ from "objectivity"?
- What does replication code tell us about data cleaning practices and explanatory priorities in the social sciences?
- Why do social scientists typeset papers in LaTeX, and does typesetting affect where they get published?
In other projects, I've developed a historical sociology of educational expansion (with Mitchell Stevens) and assessed the predictability of life outcomes in longitudinal social survey data (with Matt Salganik, Ian Lundberg, Sara McLanahan, and more than 100 collaborators).
I also work on building computational research infrastructure for improved measurement and data preparation in the social sciences. I previously led teams to build software systems for collaborative coding of forum data and variable selection in longitudinal data systems. Right now, I'm particularly interested in developing measurement tools for novel kinds of social data (e.g. code, font).
I'm currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology at Princeton University, advised by Dr. Brandon Stewart.