Collaborative research in sociology: Trends and contributing factors

Laura Hunter, Erin Leahey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


To what extent do sociologists collaborate? Has this changed over time? What factors contribute to research collaboration among sociologists? To answer these questions, we examine trends in collaboration over a 70 year period and empirically test a variety of explanations for the increase in collaboration that we find. We analyze data collected from a stratified random sample of articles in two leading sociology journals between 1935 and 2005 (n=1274). Most of our analyses are descriptive and display trends over time. However, we pool the data across all years and estimate logistic regression models to assess the relative contribution of various factors. We find that the importance of geographical location has been waning since the 1950s, although the growth in cross-place collaborations stagnated between 1980 and 2005. We find that quantitative research is more likely to be collaborative, as are projects requiring data collection, though this may change because the collaboration rate among secondary data users is increasing at a faster rate. We find no significant gender differences in rates of collaboration, although male sole-authorship remains the most common form of publication. We also find the institutional prestige of coauthors is typically higher than that of sole-authors. Our results elucidate the extent of collaboration in sociology and reveal how several factors have contributed to this major shift in work organization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)290-306
Number of pages17
JournalAmerican Sociologist
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2008


  • Coauthorship
  • Collaboration
  • Research
  • Sociology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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