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Michael Sierra-Arévalo

Faculty ScholarsPh.D., Yale University

Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology
Michael Sierra-Arévalo



Michael Sierra-Arévalo is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin.

Sierra-Arévalo's research employs quantitative and qualitative methods to investigate police culture, behavior, and legitimacy. His first book, Peril on Patrol: Danger, Death, and U.S. Policing, is under advance contract at Columbia University Press. Drawing on ethnographic field work and interviews with police officers in three U.S. police departments, Peril on Patrol shows how policing's cultural preoccupation with danger and death shapes police training, practice, and policy. 

His other research interests include gangs, gun violence, social networks, and violence prevention. Sierra-Arévalo's research has appeared in a variety of social science publications, including the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Criminology, Law & Society Reviewand the Annual Review of Law and Social Science. His writing and research can also be found in a range of popular outlets, including The Washington Post, Times Higher EducationVox, GQ, and NPR 

Before joining the faculty at UT Austin, Sierra-Arévalo was an Assistant Professor in the Rutgers School of Criminal Justice. Michael received his Ph.D. in Sociology from Yale University and his B.A. in Sociology and Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. \m/ Hook 'em! \m/


SOC 389K • Training Smnr In Demography

45010 • Fall 2021
Meets F 10:00AM-12:00PM RLP 3.106

The focus of this training seminar is professional socialization—how to succeed in graduate school and construct a rewarding career path. This seminar includes a range of related readings and in-class discussion.

SOC 327M • Social Research Methods-Wb

44785 • Spring 2021
Internet; Asynchronous


This course offers an introductory and intensive overview of research methods in the social


By the end of this course, students will be able to:

● Describe common methods of social science inquiry
● Understand the linkage between research question and research design
● Explore major debates about research methods, social science, and ethics in research
● Evaluate social scientific evidence and research
● Critically consume news reports, political rhetoric, and public discussion about the social world and social scientific research


This class is designed so that students who view/attend lecture, review lecture notes, complete
online quizzes, and utilize provided study guides can succeed. All relevant material will be
covered in lecture and assigned readings; there is no required textbook . For those that would
like to have an additional resource that has extra examples and more detailed explanation of
concepts covered in class, I recommend the following text:

Dixon, Jeffrey C., Royce Singleton, and Bruce C. Straits. 2019. The Process of Social Research.
Second edition. New York: Oxford University Press. (ISBN: 9780190876654)


50% Research Proposal: The research proposal is a semester-long, independent assignment aimed at having you combine your personal interests, quantitative reasoning skills, and writing. The research proposal is broken into 7 graded components which, combined, make up your grade for the Research Proposal assignment.

25% Perusall Contributions: Perusall is an online platform that 1) requires students to complete assigned readings/watched videos 2) allows students to ask questions and teach one another through responses and annotations, and 3) eliminates the need for multiple-choice tests on course material. You will have 5 Perusal responses over the course of the semester that will contribute to 25% of your overall course grade. Perusal assignments will be posted as the semester progresses and will remain open until the end of semester. See here for more info on Perusall and Perusall assignments .

15% Evaluating Research Assignment: This assignment requires you to combine skills and concepts covered this semester to:

  1. summarize and describe two research articles,
  2. critically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each study, and
  3. think through your own research interest(s) and how you might go about answering a research question of your choice both quantitatively and qualitatively.

10% Research Ethics Assignment: In this assignment, you will learn about and be quizzed on research ethics through an online Human Subjects Research (HSR) training portal. This is a pass/fail assignment. Your course grade will be determined roughly according to the percentages detailed above, though I reserve the right to reward students for improvement throughout the course. This course is not graded on a curve. Grades posted to Canvas during the semester are raw scores and do not take into account the appropriate weights based on each assignment’s percentage contribution to your final grade.

Curriculum Vitae

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    University of Texas at Austin
    305 E. 23rd Street / RLP 2.602
    Mail Stop G1800
    Austin, Texas 78712-1699