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Applied and Community Engaged Sociology

Applied sociology is the use of sociological theory, methods, skills and research in order to resolve particular issues in real-world settings. Community-engaged sociology takes into account the intersectional experiences of community members, organizations, researchers, and sociologists to work towards better understanding. This cluster is open to academic and non-academic members as well as anyone who is an applied or community-engaged sociologist or is interested in applied or community-engaged sociology. Our membership has quickly grown to over 100 members including researchers from academia, government, and non-profit organizations, independent researchers and consultants, students, and practitioners of sociology.

Please contact Ashley Berard if you would like to become a member or are interested in taking on a leadership position in our cluster.

What is applied sociology?

Applied sociologists may or may not have academic degrees in Sociology. They may have studied sociological theory, methods and findings through related disciplines such as Urban Planning, Community Development, Communications, Criminology, Social Work, Women’s Studies, Gender Studies, Critical Race Studies, Indigenous Studies, Religion, Demography/Population Studies, Anthropology, and others. They may be based in community organizations, the private sector, governments, think tanks, international agencies, academic institutions or be independent researchers doing sociological research in the field.

Applied sociology is the use of sociological theory, methods, skills and research in order to resolve particular issues in real-world settings. Examples can include:

  • program evaluation geared to making improvements in a social program so that it works better for clients/users;
  • working with a hospital or community health centre to improve access to health services for people with low literacy skills;
  • designing surveys and collecting data for purposes of tracking public opinion, creating profiles of various populations (e.g. Aboriginal Peoples), or measuring change in specific social indicators (fertility, cohabitation, poverty, educational attainment, racism, happiness, etc.);
  • studying the social impact of emergency communications during and after a crisis so that emergency planners can improve communications procedures;
  • working with a community organization to establish an evidence-based program for disadvantaged youth;
  • conducting participatory action research in partnership with a community to find out what kind of economic development would work for that community;
  • understanding and resolving issues in group and organizational dynamics within an institution;
  • turning evidence about equity into organizational and public policy.

Why Join?

Anyone who is an applied sociologist or is interested in applied sociology is welcome to join this cluster. You do not have to be a member of the Canadian Sociological Association (CSA) to be part of this cluster, but you do have to be a CSA member to participate in or present at applied sociology panels at CSA conferences.

Joining the Applied and Community Engaged Sociology cluster will provide you with the opportunity to connect with a diverse group of professionals who practice applied sociology within academic and non-academic settings. You will be able to network and share ideas, knowledge and news with other members. The cluster has also created pages on various social media channels to facilitate communication between all members. Being a part of this cluster is free and does not require membership in the Canadian Sociological Association (CSA).

With a membership in the CSA, participation in the cluster will also provide you with the opportunity to become involved with applied sociology sessions at the annual Congress conference as an organizer, chair, presenter, or discussant. Moreover, by attending Congress activities and sessions, you will be able to interact with the wider sociological community in Canada.

The Applied and Community Engaged Sociology Cluster also welcomes students interested in applied sociology. Students will have the opportunity to connect with applied sociologists who work in a variety of fields and become informed of a range of career paths.


Angus Reid Applied Sociology Award, CSA Award

Applied Sociology, a database to help visitors find Canadian applied sociologists and/or Community-Engaged Learning/Research resources.