John McLeveyJohn McLevey, PhD

Associate Professor

Department of Knowledge Integration


  • Department of Sociology & Legal Studies
  • Department of Geography & Environmental Management
  • School of Environment, Resources & Sustainability

Contact information

Phone: (519) 888-4567 ext. 31938
Office: Environment 1 (EV1), room 215

Personal website
NetLab website


PhD Sociology, McMaster University, 2013
MA Sociology, McMaster University, 2009
BA (H) Sociology, Memorial University of Newfoundland, 2008

Research interests

  • Social Network Analysis
  • Computational Social Science
  • Science Policy and Evidence-Informed Policymaking
  • Environmental Governance and Policy
  • Social Movements and Political Sociology
  • Cognitive Social Science
  • Research Methods (Quantitative, Qualitative, Computational)

Dr. McLevey primarily works in the areas of social network analysis and computational social science, with substantive interests in the science-policy interface and evidence-informed policymaking, environmental governance, and social movements. He research is funded by grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and an Early Researcher Award from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation.

As a computational social scientist, Dr. McLevey’s most general research goal is to advance our knowledge of how social networks and institutions affect the spread of information, knowledge, beliefs, biases, and behaviours. His work is also focused on better understanding the social and political consequences of those complex transmission processes. He is currently leading or collaborating on a number of research projects in service of that larger goal, including (1) the effects of cognitive diversity in scientific teams, (2) processes of evidence-informed policymaking, (3) network effects on participation in environmental activism, (4) environmental governance and development in the North Atlantic, and (5) the diffusion of educational innovations. Each of these projects combine computational methods (specifically related to network analysis, natural language processing and text analysis, and record linkage) with social scientific theories and methods (including interviews, surveys, and observation). You can find details about these projects on his research website.

John is currently writing a computational social science book for Sage UK (Doing Computational Social Science: A Practical Introduction), and is co-authoring a book on environmental governance in the North Atlantic with Mark Stoddart (Memorial University) and Alice Mattoni (University of Bologna) for Palgrave McMillan. He is also collaborating on a book with number of colleagues (led by Harry Collins at Cardiff University) about face-to-face versus remote communication and networks. He is co-editing a special issue of the journal Social Networks on climate change and social networks with David Tindall (University of British Columbia) and Nina Kolleck (Freie Universität Berlin), and a special issue of Society and Natural Resources with Mark Stoddart (Memorial University), Vanessa Schweizer (University of Waterloo), and Catherine Wong (Université du Luxembourg).

In addition to writing articles and books, Dr. McLevey and his students develop research software. You can learn more about  their Python packages (e.g. metaknowledge; principled data processing, Python; nate) on the webpage for John’s research lab, NETLAB.


John McLevey. Doing Computational Social Science. Under contract with Sage, UK Office. Research methods and data science series.

Mark Stoddart, Alice Mattoni, and John McLevey. Industrial Development and Eco-Tourisms: Is Co-existence Possible Between Oil Exploration and Nature Conservation? Under contract with Palgrave MacMillan.

Harry Collins with Robert Evans, Jonathon Goodall, Michael Gorman, Martin Innes, Will Mason-Wilkes, John McLevey and Alun Preece (authors after Collins are listed alphabetically). Face-to-Face: Why You Need to Talk to People to Understand the World (working title). Book manuscript under review.

Peer Reviewed Journal Articles and Chapters in Peer Reviewed Edited Volumes

Owen Gallupe, John McLevey, and Sarah Brown. 2018. "Selection or Influence? A Meta-Analysis of the Association between Peer and Personal Offending." Journal of Quantitative Criminology. 1-23.

John McLevey, Alexander Graham, Reid McIlroy-Young, Pierson Browne, and Kathryn S. Plaisance. 2018. "Interdisciplinarity and Insularity in the Diffusion of Knowledge: An Analysis of Disciplinary Boundaries Between Philosophy of Science and the Sciences." Scientometrics. 117(1):331-349.

John McLevey and Ryan Deschamps. 2018. "The Sociology of Public Policy Formation and Implementation." William Outhwaite and Stephen Turner (eds) The SAGE Handbook of Political Sociology. SAGE.

John McLevey, Allyson Stokes, and Amelia Howard. 2018. "Pierre Bourdieu's Uneven Influence on Anglophone Canadian Sociology." Thomas Medvetz and Jeff Sallaz (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Pierre Bourdieu. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

John McLevey and Reid McIlroy-Young. 2017. "Introducing metaknowledge: Software for Computational Research in Information Science, Network Analysis, and Science of Science." Journal of Informetrics. 11: 176-197.

Allyson Stokes and John McLevey (equal authors). 2016. "From Porter to Bourdieu: The Evolving Specialty Structure of English Canadian Sociology, 1966- 2014." Canadian Review of Sociology / Revue canadienne de sociologie. 53(2):176–202.

John McLevey. 2015. "Understanding Policy Research in Liminal Spaces: Think Tank Responses to Diverging Principles of Legitimacy." Social Studies of Science. 45(2):270-293.

John McLevey. 2014. "Think Tanks, Funding, and the Politics of Policy Knowledge in Canada." Canadian Review of Sociology / Revue canadienne de sociologie. 51(1):54-75.

Policy Reports

Janice Aurini, John McLevey, Allyson Stokes, and Rob Gorbet. 2017. "Classroom Robotics and Acquisition of 21st Century Competencies: An Action Research Study of Nine Ontario School Boards." Report for the Council of Ontario Directors of Education (CODE) and the Ministry of Education, Ontario.

Special Issues of Peer-Reviewed Journals

David Tindall, John McLevey, and Nina Kolleck (editors). Social Networks and Climate Change. Special issue / section of Social Networks. Call for papers currently open.

Mark Stoddart, John McLevey, Vanessa Schweizer, and Catherine Wong (editors). Climate Change and Energy Futures. Special issue of Society and Natural Resources.

Research Grants

2019. Janice Aurini, Allyson Stokes, John McLevey, Jessica Riztk, and Rob Gorbet. “Ed-Tech Connect: An Intersectoral Workshop on Education, Technology, and 21st Century Labour.” SSHRC Connection Grant, $16,400 (plus matching funds).

2018-2019. Mark Stoddart (PI), John McLevey, (Co-Applicant), John Sandlos (Co-Applicant), Vanessa Schweizer (Co-Applicant), Catherine Mei Ling Wong (Co-Applicant). Climate Change and Energy Futures Workshop: Challenges and Opportunities for Global and Interdisciplinary Research. SSHRC Connection Grant, $24,373 (plus $14,339 in matching funds from Memorial University and University of Waterloo).

2016-2022. David Tindall (PI), John McLevey (Co-I), Mark Stoddart (Co-I). Collaborators: Mario Diani, Jennifer Earl, Dana R Fisher, Philip Leifeld, Andrew Jorgenson, Philippe Le Billon, Don Grant, Moses Boudourides. Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Insight Grant Application. “Making sense of climate action: Understanding social mobilization to curb anthropogenic climate change through advances in social network analysis,” $282,672

2016-2020 John McLevey (PI), Ontario Early Researcher Award, Ministry of Research and Innovation, “Information and Idea Diffusion in an Open Source Collaboration Network,” $150,000.

2016-2018 John McLevey (PI), Owen Gallupe (Collaborator) and Martin Cooke (Collaborator), Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Insight Development Grant, “Remaking the Boundaries of Open and Proprietary Science: A Longitudinal Study of Biomedical Research and Development Networks in Canada” $67,790.

2016-2018 Katie Plaisance (PI) and John McLevey (Co-I), Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Insight Development Grant, “Increasing the Impact of Philosophy of Science in Scientific Domains”, $59,302

2015-2016 John McLevey (PI) and Vanessa Schweizer (Co-I), Basillie School of International Affairs, Major Workshops Grant, “Challenges and Opportunities for Governance of Socio-Ecological Systems in Comparative Perspective,” $8,400.

2015-2020 Mark Stoddart (PI) and John McLevey (Co-I), Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Insight Grant, “The Oil-Tourism Interface and Social-Ecological Change in the North Atlantic,” $188,423.

2014-2016 John McLevey (PI), Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Insight Development Grant, “Collaborative Design in Online Networks,” $74,814.

2013 University of Waterloo, Faculty Research Startup Grant, $15,000.

Open Source Research Software

metaknowledge: A Python package for quantitative and social networks research in the sociology of science and information science. Developed by Reid McIlroy-Young and John McLevey. First released in 2015. Under active development.

nate: A Python package for network-based text analysis. Developed by John McLevey. Under active development.

pdpp: A Python package for principled data processing, Python. Developed by Pierson Browne, Tyler Crick, Rachel Wood, and John McLevey. First released in 2015. Under active development.

divsim: A Python package computing measures of diversity and similarity in networks discussed in the paper by McLevey, Graham, Browne, and Crick. Developed by Tyler Crick, Alexander Graham, and John McLevey. Under active development.

tidyextractors: A Python package for extracting quantitative datasets from source code repositories, email mbox files, and social media APIs (currently Twitter). Developed and maintained by NetLab RA Joel Becker with NetLab support.

Contributions to Jonathan de Bruin’s Python package recordlinkage: A Python package for linking records across multiple data sources when there is no unique ID available. NetLab contributions are focused on implementing new comparison and fusion algorithms that are necessary for advancing my grant-funded empirical research on the structure and evolution of cross-sectoral collaboration networks in science and technology. Most NetLab contributions to recordlinkage are implemented by Joel Becker (RA) and occasionally Jillian Anderson (RA), and then submitted to Jonathan de Bruin as pull requests

gitnet: A Python package for mining source code repository and mailing list data and generating network datasets. Developed by Joel Becker, Jillian Anderson, Steve McColl, and John McLevey. First released in 2016. gitnet is still publicly available and functional, but development efforts and maintenance have shifted to tidyextractors and other Python packages.


“Tory war on evidence claims another casualty” with Liam SwissToronto Star Op-Ed published on September 24 2014, section A15.

Professional associations

  • Canadian Sociological Association
  • American Sociological Association
  • International Network for Social Network Analysis
  • Sociologists for Women in Society

Courses taught and in development

  • INTEG 120: The Art & Science of Learning
  • INTEG 275 Special Topics: Social Research Methods
  • INTEG 251: Creative Thinking
  • INTEG 340: Research Design and Methods
  • INTEG 375 Special Topics: Comparative Science and Health Policy
  • INTEG 375 Special Topics: Data Visualization
  • INTEG 375 Special Topics/SOC 312: Science and Technology in Society
  • INTEG 440/ SOC 440: Computational Social Science 
  • INTEG 475 Special Topics: "Big Data" and Social Science in the Digital Age
  • INTEG 475 Special Topics: Open Science and Technology