Teacher First, Researcher Second
It was while studying as an undergrad, when Kathleen Bogle, Ph.D., fell in love with the field of Sociology. She became hooked when she took a class on Sociology and gender. Bogle explains, “I liked the sociological perspective from the start. Sociologists analyze why people behave the way they do. I loved trying to figure people out, but not just on the individual level. Sociologists also want to understand how the groups people belong to–race, class, gender, and religion, among others—affect behavior.” From that point forward, Bogle took as many Sociology classes as she could and decided make it her life’s work and graduate school. She obtained her master’s degree in Criminal Justice and later achieved her doctoral degree in Sociology.
Bogle’s particular areas of sociology research are gender, sexual behavior, and intimate relationships. Her interests also lie in criminology, particularly in violence against women. Although different from one another, Bogle says all of her areas of research overlap. “I analyzed gender differences in the campus hookup culture. In my study, women were more likely to say they want “something more” than a casual hookup encounter. There was also a clear double standard for how men and women were supposed to behave in the hookup culture.” Bogle gathered her analyses on gender differences in the college hookup culture into her first book entitled, Hooking Up: Sex, Dating, and Relationships on Campus, which was published by New York University Press in 2008. The book studied how men and women get together in college versus after. Bogle collected information by conducting a series of one-on-one interviews.
Since writing her first book, Bogle has done a great deal of work in the media. She’s communicated her research findings to a larger audience by participating in interviews for newspapers, radio stations, and television programs. She’s made appearances to discuss her work on the nationally broadcasted CBS Early Show and ABC News Nightline. Bogle has been quoted in many widely known magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Men’s and Women’s Health, the New York Times, Newsweek, O Magazine, Seventeen and the Wall Street Journal.
For her second book, she has teamed up with a former University of Delaware colleague, Joel Best. The pair analyzed media accounts of teen sexual behavior by examining newspaper accounts as well as radio and television interviews that covered stories on how teens are conducting themselves sexually. “We learned that the media often retells urban legends as if they were factual with little evidence to back up their claims. These hyped accounts of “kids gone wild” in the news has led the public to hold many distorted perceptions about what teens are actually doing.” The new book looks more at how we talk about how young people behave. The book is currently at New York University Press and is scheduled to be released later this year or early 2014.
Bogle says her first and second books are greatly connected in multiple ways. She says both books analyze American youth behavior and examine distorted perceptions. She explains, “In Hooking Up, there is a chapter on how college students often have distorted perceptions on what their classmates are doing in the realm of sex and dating.” While in her new book she says, “The final chapter analyzes how urban legends and other stories on teens compare to what research shows about teen sexual behavior and relationships in the U.S. and other English speaking countries.”
Bogle hopes that her research will go beyond the academic level and reach the general public. “Since my first book got a great deal of media attention, I was able to reach that goal for that book. I want the same to happen for my second book when it is released. The more people hear about my work, the more it can affect how people think about certain issues and what decisions—policy or otherwise—they make.” She hopes her research has contributed a sociological perspective on how students and young adults form sexual and romantic relationships. She says, “It is important for sociologists to have a voice that reaches the general public, so we can clear up misperceptions that are fueled by media stories and gossip.”
Often at larger universities, professors typically do not teach and research—it’s normally one or the other. For Bogle, she is happy La Salle allows her to have the best of both worlds.
Although she enjoys her research, her favorite part of her job is working with students. She has been able to bring the insights of her research to the courses she teaches by talking about her work to students. She references her research in her Principles of Sociology and Social Problems classes. “I think it is important for faculty to be engaged in research because it enhances what they do in the classroom. They can integrate their research into various classes and, in some cases, help students do their own research.”
In addition to teaching and researching, Bogle also serves as La Salle’s the director of internships for sociology and criminal justice majors. “I have been working many hours with students one-on-one to help them get internships that can ultimately help them get their dream job after graduation. One of our students landed an internship with the FBI, which is very hard to get, and it appears they want to hire him when he graduates. I want to help more students have the kind of experience that student had.”
In the future, although her second book is not yet published, Bogle is already thinking ahead. Bogle is considering doing a research project on marriage. One of her favorite class to teach is Love, Marriage and Parenting. From teaching this class, Bogle focuses each year on what sociologists have researched about the topic and she would like to add her voice to the scholarship.