A Longitudinal, Descriptive Study of Sociology Majors: The Development of Engagement, the Sociological Imagination, Identity, and Autonomy

Document Type


SoTL Category

Student Reflections/Perspectives

SoTL Discipline

Arts and Humanities

Publication Date



In this exploratory scholarship of teaching and learning study, we describe the development, over time, of engagement in the discipline, the ability to use the sociological imagination and other learning, an identity as a sociologist, and a sense of being an autonomous learner in a group of sociology majors. We followed 18 students who completed questionnaires, learning reflection essays, and face-to-face interviews over a period of about two years in their careers as sociology majors. We found that students showed few, small, and mixed changes over time in the major dependent variables as well as small increases in involvement in useful academic and study behaviors.


This article was published in Sage Journals. Vol. 39, Issue 2. (2011). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0092055X11400438