Thomas Elliott


University of California, Irvine - June 2015
  • Ph.D. Sociology; Field Exams: Social Network Analysis, Social Movements
  • University of California, Irvine - September 2009
  • M.A. Sociology
  • University of Texas at Dallas - May 2006
  • B.S. Interdisciplinary Studies - Physics & Chemistry Education
  • Technical Skills

  • R (including dplyr and ggplot2), Python, Stata, PHP, MySQL, HTML, and CSS
  • advanced regressions, time series analysis, qualitative comparative analysis, machine learning classifiers (support vector machines, gaussian naive Bayes, random forests, neural networks), structured topic modeling.
  • Professional Experience

    Lecturer, California State University, Channel Islands2016-present
  • I teach undergraduate sociology and political science students, including three sections of statistical applications in social science.
  • Postdoctoral Research Assistant, University of Arizona2015-2016
  • I led data analysis strategy for a MacArthur Foundation-funded study of how online participation shapes political advocacy among young people. I wrote Stata scripts to clean and merge a data set of nearly 4,000 websites and over 7,000 opportunities for online advocacy, including a script to automatically find and combine duplicate websites. I have published four academic articles and several more are currently under review based on results from this dataset. I produced a set of tutorials for data management in R to facilitate the lab moving their data programming from Stata to R.
  • Statistics Consultant, University of California, Irvine2014-2015
  • In this position, created specifically for me due to my skill set, I provided consulting to undergraduate, graduate, and faculty members of the Department of Sociology. I helped clients work through data cleaning and analysis problems in R, Stata, and SPSS. I also developed a set of how-to resources for data analysis based on this work (available here).
  • Professional Organizations in the News
    Research Assistant, University of California, Irvine 2008-2015
  • I collected, cleaned, managed, and coded a data set of nearly 1 million newspaper mentions of advocacy organizations in the twentieth century. I wrote Python scripts to scrape search results from newspaper archives and R scripts to clean these data and upload them to a MySQL server where the data were stored. I worked with a team of graduate students to content code a sample of these articles for analysis. I wrote numerous R scripts to clean and analyze these coded data using regression, social network analysis, and qualitative content analysis. We have published several academic articles from this data (available upon request), and I have presented preliminary results from this project at professional conferences over the last six years.
  • To facilitate content coding of the newspaper data, I wrote a PHP web application to content code samples of these data for a variety of academic papers. Individual coders could log in to the coding application and be presented with a list of articles assigned to them to code. This resulted in a significant increase in the efficiency of coding, more reliable coded data, and easier management of a large team of coders.
  • Mainstream Newspaper Coverage of Homosexuality
    Principle Investigator, University of California, Irvine 2010-2015
  • Using Python scripts I collected and cleaned a data set of nearly 100,000 newspaper articles mentioning homosexuality since 1950. I designed and wrote a web-based coding application using PHP and MySQL with which I content coded a sample of roughly 800 articles. I wrote an R package (available here) to analyze discourse data using a method developed by a biologist to study animal associations. These data and analyses were used to write my dissertation.
  • Cultural Tastes and Race
    Co-Investigator, University of California, Irvine 2013-2016
  • I was brought on board this project to perform advanced data analysis on data coded from profiles. I wrote R scripts to perform social network analysis on the links between stated interests and stated racial preferences on these profiles, used this data to create race-based interest scores for each profile, and used these scores in a Heckman selection regression model to predict individual racial preferences. These analyses have been presented at the American Sociological Association annual conference and is currently being drafted into an academic article for publication.
  • Comprehending and Regulating Financial Crisis
    Research Assistant, University of California, Irvine June 2014-December 2014
  • For this interdisciplinary project, I used Python scripts to scrape newspaper archives for articles discussing the recent financial crisis. I then extracted and coded the authors of the articles, and ran analyses on what kinds of authors were dominating the conversation. I also helped run a series of experiments investigating the effect of an ethics of economics class on the economic strategies and values of undergraduate students. Using R, I analyzed the data collected in these experiments and produced preliminary results memos for the principal investigators.
  • Instructor, University of California, IrvineSeptember 2007-March 2014
  • In coordination with my supervising instructor, as well as the other graduate teaching assistants, I developed and lead discussion sessions to compliment the lectures for a variety of sociology courses, including social problems, sociology of gender, sociology of sexuality, and probability and statistics. I also frequently lead the lab sections of the graduate statistics sequence, demonstrating to first year PhD students how to conduct quantitative data analysis using Stata.
  • Publications

    Elliott, Thomas, and Jennifer Earl. Forthcoming. "Kids These Days: Supply and Demand for Youth Online Political Engagement." Digital Media and the Future(s) of Democracy. Democracy, Citizenship, and Constitutionalism Series. University of Pennsylvania Press.
    Amenta, Edwin, Thomas Alan Elliott, Nicole Shortt, Amber Celina Tierney, Didem Turkoglu, and Burrel Vann Jr. 2017. "From Bias to Coverage: What explains how news organizations treat social movements." Sociology Compass.
    Elliott, Thomas Alan, Jennifer Earl, and Thomas V. Maher. 2017. "Recruiting Inclusiveness: Intersectionality, Social Movements, and Youth Online." Research in Social Movements, Conflicts, and Change.
    Elliott, Thomas Alan, and Jennifer Earl. 2016. "Online Protest Participation and the Digital Divide: Modeling the Effect of the Digital Divide on Online Petition Signing." New Media and Society. [Link]
    Elliott, Thomas Alan, Edwin Amenta, and Neal Caren. 2016. "Recipes for Attention: Policy Reforms, Crises, Organizational Characteristics and Newspaper Coverage of the LGBT Movement, 1969-2010." Sociological Forum 31:926-947. [online supplement] [Link]
    Edwin Amenta, Thomas Alan Elliott, and Amber Celina Tierney. 2016. "Political Reform and the Newspaper Coverage of U.S. Movements in Depression, Recession, and Historical Perspective." Mobilization 21(4):393-412. [Link]
    Kane, Melinda, and Thomas Elliott. 2014. "Turning to the Courts: A Quantitative Analysis of the Gay and Lesbian Movement's Use of Legal Mobilization." Sociological Focus 47(4):219-231 [PDF] [Link]
    Judith Treas and Thomas A. Elliott. 2014. "Sex, Family and Social Change." In Judith Treas, Jacqueline Scott, and Martin P.M. Richards. The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Sociology of Families (2nd edition). Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell Publishers. Pp. 527-546.
    Amenta, Edwin, Beth Gharrity Gardner, Amber Celina Teirney, Anaid Yerena, and Thomas Elliott. 2012. "A Story-Centered Approach to the Newspaper Coverage of High-Profile SMOs." Research in Social Movements, Conflicts, and Change 33:83-107 [PDF]

    Other Interests

  • I enjoy speculating who is sashaying away next week on RuPaul's Drag Race, sharing groan-worthy puns with my unsuspecting friends, and defending Captain Janeway as the fiercest Star Trek captain. Among my side research projects include an analysis of human behavior across online dating platforms, and topic modeling US Supreme Court oral arguments.