Academic Profile

People Feature

Colin Mills

Professorial Fellow
Associate Professor of Sociology

Research Interests: Social inequality, workplace employment relations, social survey methodology, quantitative social research.

I'm interested in supervising talented doctoral candidates who want to do serious quantitative work in the the following areas: social stratification; social demography; sociology of employment. Serious means an intention to do something a bit more than run a few crosstabs and stick a logit with 25 predictor variables on the end (unless you have a very good reason for doing that). It also means having a point, ie I have no interest in quantitative pyrotechnics for their own sake. I'm not a methodologist and don't do methodological research. Nothing against methodologists - I use their work all the time - but it is just not what I do and you won't get good value from me as a supervisor if your interests are purely in the development of technique. Likewise you won't get good value from me if a large component of what you want to do is 'qualitative'. Again this is not a judgement about scientific value but a statement of where my interests lie. I don't want to waste my time (or your time) on things I have no interest in so if your project is qualitative you would be better off with somebody else. There is a lot of rhetoric about 'mixed methods' but in reality most of the stuff on the integration of quantitative and qualitative methodologies - note I did not say all - doesn't get much beyond the rhetorical and is largely either bogus or well meaning wishful thinking.

My empirical interests are largely UK centred though I can be persuaded to supervise theses about other societies - especially ones where I have some - albeit tenuous - grasp of the language and some knowledge of the institutions - which means in essence the Anglo world plus Germany, France and Sweden. I'm not keen on supervising theses on socieites where I have no access to primary materials in the original language and I have to rely on what you tell me.

If you have read all this, are not put off, and have an original idea for an exciting thesis please get in touch. It's best if you send me an outline (ie a maximum of 5 A4 pages) before you formally apply so that I can give you an indication as to whether I would be willing to supervise you. Please don't send me BA/BSc, MA/MSc theses and other long documents. I don't have time to read them. If you can't catch my attention in 5 pages then you can't catch it at all.

Colin Mills