Thomas B. Smith

Thomas Smith is a Graduate Fellow at University of Florida’s Sociology and Criminology & Law department. He is interested in the relationship, both direct and interactive, between criminal behaviour, biological mechanisms such as genes and nutrition, and the social environment, especially the correctional environment. Thomas’ dissertation proposes and tests biosocially informed furtherances of Cullen’s Social Support Theory, a theory of biosocial support, for short.

During his time at University of Pennsylvania Thomas developed an interest in quantitative analysis. This has since strengthened, further expanding his knowledge of regression-based methods while adding structural equation modeling, meta-analysis, social network analysis, and, most recently, topic modeling to his repertoire. Thomas is adept at using an array of statistical software including Stata, MPlus, and SPSS, but predominantly uses R. Using R, Thomas has employed web-scraping, a technique used in the collection of ‘big data’, to collect large quantities of arrest data from multiple police departments around the US.

In his capacity as a quantitative researcher, Thomas works as a research assistant at UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research (BEBR), using topic modeling techniques as a means of generating social networks which connect academics by their research topics, hoping to promote interdisciplinary collaborations similar to those which have influenced his own work.

Degrees Earned:

  • M.S., Criminology, University of Pennsylvania, 2015
  • B.A., Sociology, University of Birmingham, 2014

Research Interests:

  • Biosocially Informed Theories of Strain and Social Support
  • Corrections and the efficacy of Corrections-based Treatment Programs
  • Data scraping and the leveraging of modern technology in the collection of big data
  • Quantitative Research Methods and Data Science