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Simone Polillo - Economic Sociology

Social Science
Supervising Faculty Member: 
Simone Polillo
Research Focus: 

My research investigates the social sources of creativity. I concentrate on academic disciplines, and rather than focus on the quality of individual works or research agenda, I look at what kinds of patterns of collaboration among scholars lead to successful research outcomes. Do scholars become more creative when they are surrounded by others who share similar interests and approaches, or do they benefit from access to multiple, different styles of scholarship? Do the human sciences differ from the “hard” sciences in terms of collaborative dynamics? What about applied fields?  I use quantitative methods in network analysis and bibliometrics (i.e. the study of academic literature as a source of data on coauthorship, citations, etc.)

Position Description: 

Identify academic disciplines that reward creative work through prizes and awards; conduct computer-assisted literature searches on JSTOR and similar repositories; build a database of academic prizes across disciplines and over long time periods.

Required Skills: 

Basic familiary with Excel and elementary algebra. If you are interested, I can introduce you to the basics of Python, a powerful programming language.

What will you learn: 

Develop a critical view of creativity, as a phenomenon that, though rare, can actually be explained through social processes; acquire concrete research skills, including familiarity with journal repositories, bibliographic conventions, and the broader technical and social apparatus that makes research possible; engage in preliminary data anlysis of the determinants of academic success, by constructing new metrics that might help us predict innovative work on the basis of the collaborative and mentorship patterns within which scholars are enmeshed.

Economic Sociology