This cluster was established in July 2014 to gather together those who practice sociology in the field, as well as those interested in how sociology is applied in practice. It is open to academic and non-academic members. 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.

What is applied sociology?

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.

Applied sociology is putting sociology in practice.

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. 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.

The CSA offers the Angus Reid Applied Sociology Award “to recognize sociologists who undertake community action projects that bring social science knowledge, methods, and expertise to bear in addressing community-identified issues and concerns.”
Learn More

Please contact our co-chairs Ashley Berard  or Rachel Barton-Bridges at if you are interested in becoming a member.