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 Amazon.com 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.