Nathaniel Porter

Nathaniel Porter

PhD Student, Sociology & Demography

Predoctoral Fellow, Quantitative Social Science Initiative (2013-14)

Affiliate, Big Data Social Science IGERT


Nathaniel D. Porter is a PhD student in sociology at Penn State University who also holds a Master’s degree in theology from Luther Seminary. His work explores new methods and data sources in the sociology of religion, with a focus on social network analysis, big data, and analysis of causal processes.

His dissertation uses book co-purchasing on to find otherwise invisible bodies of shared ideas between religious groups and to understand the differences between official and informal religious beliefs and practices. His other projects include a study of the role of parent and friend religiosity in the development of adolescent religiosity and a comparison of ministry outcomes for ELCA pastors holding the traditional Master of Divinity degree and those who complete alternate, less academic, programs of preparation. He is currently developing a new research agenda studying the role of content personalization in determining exposure to diverse religious viewpoints via online social media.