Welcome everyone to my website. My name is Jeffrey Smith and I am an Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I joined the faculty at UNL in 2013, shortly after receiving my Ph.D. from Duke University. My research interests include social networks, quantitative methods, drug use and health. I have done methodological work on network sampling and missing data, as well as more substantive work on network processes and health outcomes. My work has been published in the American Sociological Review, Sociological Methodology, Social Networks, Social Science & Medicine, as well as other venues. You can find detailed information on my publications (including links to the papers) on this site, as well as from my Google Scholars page. This site also includes information about the courses I have taught, including all of the materials from a recent workshop on network analysis. Feel free to contact me at jsmith77(at)unl.edu.
My research explores methodological and substantive problems related to social networks, substance use and health. Methodologically, my work centers on a core problem in network studies: how can network structure be measured when there is incomplete information, either because there is missing data or because the data come from a sample. The larger agenda is to make it easier to specify and test theories based on a network view of the social world—where the complex interdependencies between actors are explicitly mapped, even with limited data. For example, I have previously worked on a project that uses sampled network data to make inference about infection spread. I am also currently working on a project that examines the effect of measurement error on network inference. Substantively, my work focuses on the effect of social networks on health-related outcomes, such as substance use and emotional well-being. For example, in one on-going project, I am studying the risk factors associated with rural drug use, looking at the social network dynamics and behavioral contexts that contribute to overdose risk and increased risk of addiction. In another project, we are examining the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on social relationships, showing how increases in conflict affected mental health. Both of these projects are collaborative work with Robin Gauthier.