In his research, Joseph Merry primarily investigates class-based and racial/ethnic inequalities in education. In particular, previous work examines educational influences from three major areas: the family, schools, and the realm of academic-oriented activities that occur outside of formal schooling, such as private tutoring. Additional lines of research include the association between siblings during childhood and social outcomes in adulthood as well as comparative analyses of attitudes toward economic inequality.

His work has appeared in journals such as Sociology of Education and Journal of Family Issues. His article “Tracing the U.S. Deficit in PISA Reading Skills to Early Childhood: Evidence from the U.S. and Canada” received awards from the American Sociological Association and the American Educational Research Association. He holds a BA degree from John Carroll University and MA and PhD degrees from The Ohio State University. Currently, he teaches courses on social class, education, research methods, and quantitative analysis. ​​​

Name Title Description


Introduction to Sociology

Introduction to the sociological perspective on human behavior, including an analysis of theory, research methods, culture, society, personality, the socialization process, social institutions and social change.


Family Tree Sociology

Exploration of family history with broader social contexts. Introduction to the sociological perspective and key concepts such as: social mobility, inequality of opportunity, and social milieu, among others leading to construct family trees (at least 4 generations back) and synthesize their own family background (or the background of a provided alternative family) with an understanding of broader social forces operating in the context of each generation. Includes recent sociological research on intergenerational patterns in wealth, mobility, and overall social standing. May Experience ONLY.


Sociology of Education

Examination of the social aspects of education and schooling: the interaction between home, society and educational institutions; the ways that social inequities are reproduced through schools; and the ways that identities are formed through education.


Social Class in America

Analysis of social stratification, status and social class in the United States. Relationship of social class to social intimacy, style of life, values, mobility and the socialization process. Structure and function of power systems.


Methods of Social Research

Introduction to the basic techniques of social research including both quantitative and qualitative methods. Focus will be on strategies for conducting effective and valid research, as well as evaluating and critiquing social research. Team-based research projects are developed which are then completed in SOC-303


Quantitative Research Seminar

Continuing introduction to basic techniques of statistics including descriptive and inferential statistics with an emphasis on the application and critical consumption of statistics. Completion of quantitative research project begun in SOC 302.


Sociology Seminar

Advanced reading, research and discussion course for covering a specific topic in Sociology. Topics vary by professor and could include such topics as Organized Deviance: Terrorists, the Mafia and Genocidal States or Environmental Sociology. This course requires an independent or collaborative research project. May be repeated for credit based on change of topic.

  • Bobbitt-Zeher, Donna, Douglas B. Downey, and Joseph J. Merry. Forthcoming. "Number of Siblings During Childhood and the Likelihood of Divorce in Adulthood." Journal of Family Issues
  • Merry, Joseph J. 2013. "Tracing the U.S. Deficit in PISA Reading Skills to Early Childhood: Evidence from the U.S. and Canada." Sociology of Education 86 (3): 234-252.
  • 2015 Outstanding Graduate Teaching Associate Award, The Ohio State University
  • 2015 Max Weber Postdoctoral Programme Fellowship, Declined
  • 2014 Finalist, Spencer Dissertation Fellowship
  • 2013 Kingsbury Data Center Award from the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA)
  • 2012 Stevenson Graduate Student Paper Award, Sociology of Education Section of the American Sociological Association
  • 2010 Form-Huber Fellowship, Department of Sociology, The Ohio State University
Ohio State University
Ohio State University
John Carroll University

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