Christopher Prener is a Doctoral Candidate in Sociology at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. He received a B.A. with Honors in Sociology and History in 2008 from St. Lawrence University and a M.A. in Sociology in 2010 from Northeastern University. He is currently a Graduate Assistant at the Institute on Urban Health Research and Practice (IUHRP) where he works on Dr. Alisa Lincoln’s literacy research project. In this role, he works as an interviewer and manages the warehousing of the project’s data, which includes data from structured and unstructured interviews as well as medical record review data. Part of the data system Chris has designed includes iPad-based interview guides that are used for data collection at the literacy study’s field sites.

Chris’s graduate research has focused on multiple dimensions of emergency and mental health care in the United States, including public perceptions of mental illness, inequalities in hospital emergency department care, and the treatment of mental illness in Emergency Medical Service (EMS) settings. His dissertation research investigates the ways in which EMS work is affected by the neighborhoods it occurs in. In particular, Chris’s dissertation work seeks to better understanding the complex interplay between the everyday work practices of EMS providers and physical place by analyzing the ways in which place structures providers’ work shifts and their outlooks about patient care, socially stigmatized disorders, and the neighborhoods that they work in on a daily basis. His dissertation uses a mixed methods research design to investigate these interests. The design includes ethnographic observations of EMS work shifts and the neighborhoods where these shifts occur, semi-structured interviews with EMS providers, EMS patient data, and a wide variety of demographic and administrative data. Each element of the research design is geocoded, allowing Chris to situate his data spatially and to utilize various GIS and spatial statistical techniques for analysis.

In addition to his research, Chris is also interested in the development of data tools to assist in the collection of mixed methods data in interview and ethnographic research settings. He has an ongoing software project, FieldWerks, which is designed to extend the reach of ethnographers and allow them to easily collect spatial data at their field sites using iPhone-based software.

To learn more about Chris’s research, teaching, and data design projects, please visit his website.