John McLevey

Associate Professor & Principal Investigator

John McLevey

I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Knowledge Integration at University of Waterloo, and am cross-appointed to Sociology & Legal Studies, the School of Environment, Resources, & Sustainability (SERS), and Geography & Environmental Management (GEM). I am a member of the Cybersecurity and Privacy Institute, a Policy Fellow at the Balsillie School of International Affairs, and an Affiliated Researcher at the Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation. I primarily work in the areas of social network analysis and computational social science, with substantive interests in the sociology of science, environmental sociology, political sociology, and cognitive sociology. My work is funded by research grants from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and an Early Researcher Award from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation. On the teaching side of things, I’m especially passionate about teaching research methods and courses that integrate the social sciences and data science. 

As a computational social scientist, my most general research goal is to advance our knowledge of how social networks and institutions affect cognition and behaviour, including the formation and diffusion of knowledge, beliefs, biases, and behaviours. Of course, my work is also focused on better understanding the social and political consequences of those complex transmission processes. I am currently involved in a number of research projects in service of that larger goal.Each combines computational methods (specifically related to network analysis, natural language processing and text analysis, and record linkage) with social scientific theories and methods.

In addition to these research projects, I am writing a book called Doing Computational Social Science for Sage. If you are interested in reviewing a draft chapter or two, please do get in touch.

In addition to writing articles, I am co-developing research software with student members of my research team. You can learn more about metaknowledge and our other research software on my NetLab website. I recently published an article about metaknowledge (with my former student Reid McIlroy-Young) in Journal of Informetrics.

At the University of Waterloo, I primarily teach courses on research methods and design, computational social science, science and public policy, and the art and science of learning. I also run the Knowledge Integration senior honours project course. I primarily work with graduate students from the Department of Sociology & Legal Studies, but I have also worked with students from various departments in the Faculty of Environment and the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences.

In addition to my normal research and teaching life, I have the privilege of working with Eric Kennedy on Science Outside the Lab North (SOtL North). SOtL North is a week long intensive course in science policy held annually in Ottawa and Montréal. Each course cohort is ~ 14 graduate students from science and engineering disciplines across Canada. 

SOtL North 2018 Session B Cohort, Montréal.

SOtL North 2018 Session B Cohort, Montréal. From left to right: Eric Kennedy, Yevgen Nazarenko, Chitra Narayanan, Jean-Christian Lemay, Sam Garnett, Spencer Chad, Ellen Gute, Lauren Van Patter, Stefanie Novakowski, Kenza Samlali, Karissa Milbury, Laura Graham, Jamuna Yoganathan, Pouyan Keshavarzian, Kyra Lightburn, John McLevey.

University of Waterloo