Publications relevant to applied sociology

Argow, W.W. (1941) The practical application of sociology. American Sociological Review, 6(1): 37-40.
Bruhn J.G. (2001) On becoming a clinical sociologist. In: Rebach H.M. and Bruhn J.G. (eds.) Handbook of Clinical Sociology.  Boston, MA: Springer.
Burgess-Proctor, A., Cassano, G., Condron, D. J., Lyons, H.A. and Sanders, G. (2014) A collective effort to improve sociology students’ writing skills. Teaching Sociology, 42(2): 130-139.
Clark, E.J. (1990) The development of contemporary clinical sociology. Clinical Sociology Review, 8(1), 9.
Finkelstein, M. (2009) Toward teaching a liberating sociological practicality: Challenges for teaching, learning and practice. Teaching Sociology, 37(1): 89-102.
Finkelstein, M. (2010) Why teach applied sociology? Four reasons to consider. Journal of Applied Social Science, 4(1): 97-109.
Fritz, J.M. (Ed.). (2007). International Clinical Sociology.  Springer Science & Business Media.
Howery, C.B. (1989) Models for applied sociology programs at the BA level. Sociological Practice, 7(1): 26.
Malcom, N.L. (2006) Analyzing the news: Teaching critical thinking skills in a writing intensive social problems course. Teaching Sociology, 34(2): 143-149.
Mead, G. (2017). Forms of knowledge and the love of necessity in Bourdieu’s clinical sociology. The Sociological Review, 65(4): 628–643.
Nichols, N. (2016) Investigating the social relations of human service provision: Institutional ethnography and activism. Journal of Comparative Social Work, 11(1).
Rebach, H.M. (2001) Intervention in clinical sociology. In: Rebach, H.M. and Bruhn, J.G. (eds.) Handbook of Clinical Sociology.  Boston, MA: Springer.
Rose,,C. (2010). How to win campaigns: Communication for change. London: Routledge
Steele, S.F. (2017) “When you come to the fork in the road, take it…” Aspirations for applied and clinical sociology: paradigms to princesses. Journal of Applied Social Science, 11(1): 5-10.
Taylor, R., Torugsa, N., & Arundel, A. (2017) Leaping into real-world relevance: an ‘abduction’ proves for nonprofit research. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 1: 1-22.  DOI: 10.1177/08997640
Watts, D.J. (2017) Should social science be more solution-oriented? Nature Human Behaviour, 1, 0015.  DOI:10.1038/s41562-016-0015
Weinstein, J. (2003). Civics as applied sociology. Social Justice, 30(4): 21-39.
Wirth, L. (1931) Clinical sociology. American Journal of Sociology 37(1): 49-66.


Case Studies

Sociologists at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) formed the Work Practice group and used ethnographic methods to examine how people accomplished their work. Informed by ethnomethodology and conversation analysis, the team pioneered the study of work in context. Their discoveries fuelled a wide range of innovation in terms of technology, processes, and designs. The impact of that work continues to inform how to study technology-in-action and explore the workplace as a system of coordinated practice (Szymanski and Whalen, 2011).

Applied sociologists in rural Central Pennsylvania had targeted conversations with local municipal and community leaders to discover the functional problems they faced.  From this, they used student surveyors and faculty with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) skills to map blighted housing. This was information the towns desperately needed to gain access to Community Development Block Grant money (Milofsky and Green, 2015).

While everyone has a medical record, most people do not know where it comes from or how it was created. A team of applied sociologists from Bentley University conducted the first broad-based investigation of the medical transcription industry. Using a systems perspective, the team helped the industry better articulate the value it brings to the healthcare revenue cycle.  Through their research findings, the team also assisted the industry in developing best practice documents in quality assurance, offshoring, and speech recognition technology. (David et al., 2009; David and Vinkhuyzen, 2013).

(See Bibliography on p. 20 for all case study citations.)

See also:
Bye, T.A. (2016) A sociology clinic: a sociology of the people, by the people, for the people?  Social Theory and Health.
Companion, M. (2013) Obesogenic cultural drift and nutritional transition: Identifying barriers to healthier food consumption in urban Native American populations. Journal of Applied Social Science, 7(1), 80-94.
Holtzman, M. and Menning, C. (2015) A new model for sexual assault protection: Creation and initial testing of Elemental. Journal of Applied Social Science, 9(2), 139-155.
Simonson, L. J. (1996) Mediating conflicting constructions of childhood sexual experience: a case study. Clinical Sociology Review, 14(1), 11.
Sumerau, J. E. and Cragun, D. (2016) Frames of reference: Applying sociology in interdisciplinary medical settings. Journal of Applied Social Science, 10(2), 113-118.


Relevant journals

Clinical Sociology Review (to 1998) http://digitalcommons.wayne).edu/csr/
European Review of Applied Sociology
Journal of Applied Social Science
Teaching Sociology
Journal of Applied Sociology
International Journal of Applied Sociology
Advances in Applied Sociology


Curriculum development resources

Web addresses

sociology clinic






Association for Applied and Clinical Sociology (AACS) Ethical Standards for Sociological Practitioners:

British Sociological Association:



applied sociology



Links to relevant organisations

Applied Sociology Cluster of the Canadian Sociological Association
Applied Sociology Thematic Group of the Australian Sociological Association (TASA)
Association for Applied and Clinical Sociology
Clinical Sociology Research Cluster of the International Sociological Association
Commission on the Accreditation of Programs in Applied and Clinical Sociology (CAPACS)
Sociologists outside Academia (SoA) group of the British Sociological Association
Sociology at Work