Daniel V. A. Olson
Associate Professor of Sociology
Dept. of Sociology, Stone Hall
700 W. State Street
West Lafayette, Indiana 47907-2059
E-mail is often the best way to reach me. I check it regularly.
Office: Stone Hall 338
Students who want to get to the web pages for my courses should
log into Blackboard Learn
pages for their course and section and click on the link to your course web
Full Vita Online as of
April 22, 2013
Recent Papers -- contact me for copies
Alper, Becka and Daniel
V. A. Olson. 2013. “Religious Population Share and Religious Identity
Salience: Is Jewish Identity More Important to Jews in High Jewish Population
Share Areas?” Sociology of Religion
Thomas, Jeremy N. and
Daniel V. A. Olson. 2012. “Evangelical Elites’ Changing Responses to
Homosexuality 1960-2009.” Sociology of Religion.
Thomas, Jeremy N. and Daniel V. A. Olson. 2012. “Beyond the Culture War:
Managing Sexual Relationships Inside a Congregation of Gay Evangelicals.”
Review of Religious Research. 54:349–70.
Alper, Becka and Daniel
V. A. Olson. 2011. “Religious Geography and the Case of the Jewish Outsider.”
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. 50:822–830.
Older Papers Online
Olson and Perl. 2011.
A Friend in
Creed: Does the Religious Composition of Geographic Areas Affect the Religious
Composition of a Person's Close Friends? JSSR
Thomas and Olson. 2010.
Strictness Thesis and Competing Theories of Congregational Growth JSSR
Hill and Olson. 2009.
Market Share and Religious Competition:
Do Small Market Share Congregations and Their Leaders Try Harder?
RRA Presidential Address Why Do Small
Religious Groups Have More Committed Members? RRR
Brief synopsis of items from my CV
Sociology of Religion
- Religious Contexts/Markets, Geography of Religion
- Religiously Based Social Networks
- Religious Change/Secularization
- Religious Pluralism
- Religion and Politics
- Causes of religious commitment
Research Methods and Statistics
Courses I have taught and will be teaching at Purdue:
- Undergraduate and Graduate Sociology of Religion courses
- Undergraduate Statistics Courses
- Undergraduate Research Methods Courses
Current Research Agenda
- As of April 2013, I am finishing a major article project that
examines the impact of contextual religious pluralism on measures of
individual religiosity (e.g., attendance frequency, strength of religious
affiliation, etc.) as found in cross-sectional surveys of individuals while
controlling for respondents' religious identity in ways that avoid the
methodological problems found in earlier research on religious pluralism (Voas,
Olson, and Crockett 2002). In U.S. data I (first author) and coauthors
Li Miao, Paul Perl, and David Voas find no influence of contextual religious
pluralism on measures of individual religiosity. However, using
international data (the World Values Survey) we find a robust negative
effect of religious pluralism on individual religiosity.
- I am examining how particular types of congregations
(e.g., belonging to a particular denomination) are affected by the nearby
presence (e.g., in the same county) of other kinds of congregations (e.g.,
belonging to very similar and very different types of denominations).
I am examining such dependent variables as where do new congregations grow
faster (in areas with lots of similar congregations or in areas with few
similar congregations?) and, after controlling for population density and
other local area characteristics, where do congregations grow larger (in
areas with lots of similar congregations or in areas with few similar
congregations?). These investigations touch on the notions of religious
competition, organizational niches (from ecology of organizations theory)
and religious pluralism. If you are a current
or prospective graduate student with good computer, statistical/quantitative
skills, who might be interested in working on these types of projects feel
free to contact me. Know, however, that I also work regularly with
students doing qualitative research (e.g., my current research with Jeremy
Thomas, a graduate student, on evangelicals and homosexualtiy)and have done qualitative projects of my
- Ongoing Graduate Research Seminar.
I meet approximately bi-weekly with my graduate students (currently three
students) to discuss one another's research papers, theirs and mine.
I also regularly coauthor with students on these papers on a variety
of topics including tests of the strictness thesis (with Jeremy Thomas,
“Testing the Strictness Hypothesis and Competing Theories of Congregational
Growth.”), religious geography and religious identity (with
Becka Alper “Religious Geography and the Case of the Jewish Outsider.”),
and two papers on evangelicals and homosexuality (with Jeremy Thomas), see
Recent Publications not listed above
- 2011, Olson, Daniel V. A. “Towards Better Measures of Supply and Demand for Testing
Theories of Religious Participation” in Oxford Handbook of the
Economics of Religion edited by Rachel McCleary. Oxford: Oxford
- 2011 Olson, Daniel V. A. “Explanations of International Differences in Religion that
May Apply to China” in Yang, Fenggang and Graeme Lang, eds. Social
Scientific Studies of Religion in China: Methodology, Theories, and Findings.
Brill Academic Publishers.
- 2009, Olson, Daniel V. A. “Explanations of International Differences in Religion that May
Apply to China” in Gao, Shining and Fenggang Yang, eds. From the
Armchair to the Field: Summit on Chinese Spirituality and Society
Vol. 1. China Social Sciences Press (Beijing). In Chinese.
- 2007. Detlef Pollack
and Daniel V. A. Olson.
The Role of Religion in
Modern Societies, Routledge
Other Selected Publications
Selected Honors and Awards
- 2010-12 Elected chair elect (2010), chair (2011), past chair (2012)
section on sociology of religion, American Sociological Association
- 2012- present editorial board, Journal for the Scientific Study of
- 2009-2010 Co-recipient, Purdue Sociology Department Darryl Evans Award for Teaching Excellence
- 2008-2011 Elected to Executive Council, Association for the Sociology of Religion
- 2004-06 Elected President, Religious Research Association
- 2003 Winner, IUSB Distinguished Research Award,
- 2002-04 Elected Council Member, section on sociology of Religion, American Sociological Association,
- 1999-2001. Elected Secretary, Religious Research Association.
- 1999 Appointed, Chair, Distinguished Article Award Committee, Society for Scientific Study of Religion.
- 1998 Full Graduate Faculty Status, Indiana University
- 1997-2000 Elected to Executive Council, Association for the Sociology of Religion.
- 1997-1999 Appointed, Associate editor for Sociology of Religion, journal of the Association for the Sociology of Religion.
- 1997 Elected to Faculty Colloquium for Excellence in Teaching (FACET), Indiana University
- 1992-93 Research Fellow, Center for the Study of American Religion, Princeton University.