Friday, February 8, 2019

Are you a criminologist or a sociologist? Megan Comfort Responds

My PhD is in sociology and I think of myself as a sociologist. However, I usually work in interdisciplinary teams, and my role within a given study is shaped by what I bring to the table in relation to my colleagues. I currently am involved in several studies with collaborators who are public health researchers, psychologists, social workers, epidemiologists, and physicians. On some projects, the entire team has extensive knowledge about criminal justice issues and I strive to be a good thought partner on those matters and to take initiative when it comes to bringing a sociological perspective to our research. On other studies, I have been included specifically to contribute expertise on the repercussions of incarceration, community supervision, and other forms of direct and indirect involvement with the criminal justice system on people’s lives; my colleagues on those projects might consider me to be a criminologist. In general, I feel very fortunate to work in an environment that embraces interdisciplinary collaboration and encourages us to exercise different pockets of our knowledge – sociological, criminological, and otherwise.

Megan Comfort, RTI International

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