Student Research in SOA

One of the greatest advantages of majoring in SOA is the opportunity to do research in your field. UIS students in the SOA program have worked on projects in archaeology, anthropology and sociology both locally and abroad. Here are just a few examples of student research:

Asian Fusion/ Asian Hipster Cuisine

Megan Bott and Professor Shoon Lio (SOA) are working on a research project analyzing the relationship between gentrification and the emergence of Asian fusion/Hipster cuisine in the United States.  They have presented their preliminary findings at the Pacific Sociological Association annual conference in Portland, Oregon in March, 2014. Megan had presented some of the findings at the Student Arts and Research Symposium(StARs) as well as at the University Of Illinois Research Day at the State Capitol.

Megan Bott co-presenting with Professor Lio

New Philadelphia Archaeology

James Farris (SOA) and Debbie White (BIO 2004) collect stone suitable for making arrowheads and other prehistoric tools on Kiser Creek in Pike County. This was part of research on ancient toolmaking (ca. 10,000 years ago) from an archaeological site discovered during investigation of the New Philadelphia historic town site.

White and Farris had worked with Professor Lynn Fisher (SOA) and Dr. Michael Wiant (Illinois State Museum). Preliminary results were presented in a poster at the 2004 UIS Science Research Symposium (2nd prize for student research!). The project was completed the following year.

SOA Courses

Social Science Research Methods (SOA 411) is a hands-on learning experience right here on campus. Students learn about conducting social research by choosing and designing a class project and conducting surveys and interviews with UIS students. Data and results can also be used for a senior thesis, or by anybody interested in the topics. SOA 411 is offered every year in the spring semester. Some recent research projects:

Fashion, Expression, and Attraction: A look at fashion at UIS, including how UIS students dress to express themselves as individuals, to be appropriate in different contexts, and to feel attractive.

Same-Sex Marriage: An investigation into ideas about same-sex marriage and related issues, with an emphasis on building community at UIS.

Undergraduate Research (SOA 491): This is a faculty-supervised course in which you are engaged in a research project.  You will be expected to present some of your preliminary findings either on campus (Student Arts and Research Symposium) or at a conference.

Tutorial (SOA 499): A tutorial is a focused independent study sponsored by a faculty member. Talk to your advisor or another faculty member to learn about this option.

UIS Archaeological Field School in Germany: In 2002, 2004, and 2007 undergraduate students joined UIS Professor Lynn Fisher for 3-1/2 weeks in Blaubeuren, southern Germany. Students participated in a German-American research project on Stone Age social and economic landscapes in southern Germany, learned to identify and map Stone Age sites, and explored the kinds of tools and pottery made in this region from Neolithic to Roman times. In 2007, six undergraduate students and one graduate student received support from an NSF grant to join us for a month in Germany. We carried out test excavations on Neolithic sites near the modern city of Ulm. For more information, contact Lynn Fisher at

Study AbroadNicaragua/Globalization. Women’s Studies Professor and Anthropologist Heather Dell has led groups of UIS students to Nicaragua to study working conditions and effects of globalization.