The American Sociological Association is dedicated to serving sociologists in their work, advancing sociology as a science and profession, and promoting the contributions and use of sociology to society. One of the ways it works to fulfill this mission is through the Sociology Action Network (SAN). This program connects individuals interested in volunteering their sociological expertise—including substantive knowledge and methodological skill—with not-for-profit organizations in need of technical expertise. ASA’s role is facilitating productive partnerships. SAN volunteers work directly with organizations as independent pro bono contractors.
Sociological expertise can be useful to organizations in a wide variety of ways, including collecting and analyzing quantitative and qualitative data about communities or clients through face-to-face interviews, surveys, or focus groups; designing and conducting program evaluations; reviewing technical reports and social science literature; and providing consultations and trainings on social dynamics that impact groups, group members, and their interactions with others. Sociologists study social dynamics within a broad array of topics, including but not limited to: crime, law and deviance; housing; families and the life course; sexualities; race and ethnicity; medicine and health; inequalities and stratification; immigration; and work and organizations. SAN collaborations have the potential to additionally empower organizations by providing access to social science research tools and the knowledge needed to use them effectively.