Undergraduate Research

The Pacific Sociological Association (PSA)

The Pacific Sociological Association (originally called the Pacific Southwest Sociological Society) was established in October 1929 by a small group of sociologists called together by Emory S. Bogardus of the Department of Sociology at the University of Southern California for the purpose of organizing the Society.

The charter members agreed that they had been in isolation at their respective institutions long enough. They embraced the idea of a colleague, Earle E. Eubank, who said, "where there is contact of human minds, there an association exits; where there is no contact, there is a state of isolation." So the charter members decided to illustrate one of sociology's basic concepts, "social interaction." As stated in the original constitution, the purpose and object of the Society was the promotion of both sociological research and the teaching of sociology in universities, colleges, community colleges, and high schools in the Pacific area. The first Annual Meeting (with a program) was held on January 25, 1930 in Los Angeles at the Alexandria Hotel.

Today the PSA is the professional association of sociologists in the Pacific Region of North America: Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, Oregon California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico, Idaho, Washington, British Columbia and Alberta in Canada, and Baja California Sonora and Chihuahua in Mexico. Membership includes professors and students working at colleges and universities located throughout the United States, Mexico, and Canada, but especially those who live in the western region of those countries. Many Association members work as consultants, researchers, and administrators. Some members have government jobs and others own businesses. A significant number are graduate students.

The Association holds an annual meeting in late March or early April and publishes a newsletter, The Pacific Sociologist, and a journal, Sociological Perpsectives. You can access these documents, as well as application materials, at the PSA website (www.pacificsoc.org).

Each fall and spring, the Department of Sociology at Gonzaga University provides training and support for undergraduates who seek to present their research at the PSAs. In 2014, the PSA 85th annual meeting will be held March 27-30 at the Marriot Waterfront Hotel in Portland, OR. This year, the theme will be "(Un)Changing Institutions: Work, Family, and Gender in the New Economy."

  • Call for Papers. Deadline is October 15, 2013 for submission of papers/proposals to session organizers.
  • Submit a Session Proposal for the 2014 Conference. Deadline is August 1st. Please note that all proposed sessions must be approved by the program chair.
  • President for the 2014 meeting is Amy Wharton, Washington State University Vancouver.
  • The Program Chair for the 2014 conference is Amy Orr, Linfield College.

The Spokane Intercollegiate Research Conference (SIRC)

The Spokane Intercollegiate Research Conference is dedicated to the promotion and recognition of distinguished, original student research performed in partnership with faculty and other mentors for undergraduate and graduate students from greater Spokane and beyond.  The Conference solicits paper and poster presentations from undergraduate and graduate students attending Eastern Washington University, Gonzaga University, Spokane Community College, Spokane Falls Community College, Washington State University at Spokane, and Whitworth University.

Presentations are based on research students have conducted in a broad spectrum of disciplines including sociology, political science, psychology, history, education, theatre, English, communication, marketing, business, biology and chemistry. The Program Committee selects presentations based on originality, quality, and significance. It is also a requirement that the student or faculty member’s work breaks new ground in a discipline, not simply restate or synthesize what is known. Student work must be based on a hypothesis or thesis supported by original research, as defined by faculty in that student’s discipline.

There are two options for research submissions. The first option is for students to submit research proposals for general acceptance and the program committee will try to group their research with other similar work. The second option is for faculty to propose a special topics session. Students submit their proposal to the special topics session, and the faculty proposer(s) can review those submissions. The submission deadline for SIRC is usually posted in February. 

On Saturday, April 26, 2014, Gonzaga University will host the 12th Annual SIRC, as more than 200 students from four Inland Northwest universities present on topics ranging from Advertising to the Zapatistas. The conferences are free and open to the public. The call for proposals occured in November 2013, and the deadline for submitting abstracts online is February 14, 2014. For more information, please click on the following link  www.gonzaga.edu/Academics/Colleges-and-Schools/College-of-Arts-and-Sciences/SIRC/default.asp

If you have questions about the PSA or SIRC, or you seek to present your research at the PSA or SIRC, please consult one of the faculty in the department.
Matthew Bahr
Associate Professor and Chair
502 E. Boone Avenue
Spokane, WA 99258
Phone: (509) 313-5952
Email: bahr@gonzaga.edu