The American College Hookup Scene: Findings from the Online College Social Life Survey


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Connecting sociological analysis with topics of timely relevance to students and our society is a valuable feature of our discipline. This extensive PowerPoint presentation provides the foundation for a comprehensive class session on sex in college, hookups, relationships, persistent gender patterns and sexual assault. The data come from the Online College Social Life Survey (Paula England, principal investigator), a survey of more than 20,000 students from 21 four-year colleges and universities in the U.S., collected between 2005 and 2011. These empirically based slides provide a rich source for educating students around an issue of immediate relevance while advancing sociological understanding.


Resource Type(s):
Jessie Ford
Paula England
Jonathan Bearak 
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Usage Notes:

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The four assessments can be utilized for all four learning goals. In discussing the data, students sometimes enjoy talking about how things are different at their institution than in the data from the approximately 20 colleges and universities in the online survey. However, we think it important to...

Learning Goals and Assessments:

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Goal 1:
To deliver a didactic lecture that provides a substantive, descriptive portrait of empirical data on patterns of “hooking up”.
Assessment 1:
Potential options for adopters include: Students write about 1/2 of the graphs in the presentation. They write about whether it is their perception that this pattern holds at the school they attend, and, if not, write about how their experience differs.
Goal 2:
To demonstrate the persistent gendered patterns in hooking up behavior. To examine trends in sexual assault by gender and sexual orientation.
Assessment 2:
Students write about 2 of the ways the presentation shows hooking up or sexual assault to be patterned by gender. Describe whether and why they were surprised to learn of this gender pattern. Describe how this data fits with what is covered by the media.
Goal 3:
To demonstrate the value of social science methodology and data driven understanding.
Assessment 3:
Small group discussion on how such research builds social science knowledge – Why should we study these trends? Do they matter? What about those who don't attend college? Each small group should prepare a short written or oral summary of their discussion.

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The American College Hookup Scene-Ford, England, Bearak.pptx