Applied Social Research Laboratory

About Us   

The Applied Social Research Laboratory (ASRL) located in Johnson City on South Roan Street is the newest initiative of the Center for Community Outreach and Applied Research.  Housed at ASRL is an 11-station Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing phone lab, facilities for conducing interviews and focus groups, and software and hardware to produce and process both web and paper based surveys. The ASRL has two primary functions: 1) to carry out telephone, web, or in-person surveys as well as focus group sessions for local or regional organizations and companies that desire high quality, accurate and representative research on citizens/consumers; and 2) to assist in the development of grant and contract programs that involve research or the evaluation of programs and services promulgated by government or non-profit organizations.

Part of what makes the ASRL unique is that it is fully integrated with the Masters of Sociology program at ETSU. This benefits ETSU students in that they get hands on experience planning and conducting research, assisting with data analysis, and working with ASRL faculty on report writing and presentations. It benefits those interested in working with ASRL because while the expertise and services offered by the ASRL are not free, contract fees for service are low, in part because of our mission to provide training and research experience to both undergraduate and graduate students at ETSU.

The ASRL is directed by Dr. Kelly Foster with oversight by ASRL Executive Director Dr. Scott Beck, and Dr. Leslie McCallister is a Senior Faculty Affiliate who has initiated and directed a number of the projects based at the ASRL. Ms. Morgan Jones is the Project Manager who works with faculty to oversee the daily management of projects. Each faculty member associated with the ASRL offers a unique perspective and brings individual talents and experience to bear. In particular, faculty have extensive experience in community based research, evaluation research, government and non-profit work, public opinion polling, and community health research. For specific information on each faculty and staff member’s interests and experiences as well as their contact information, see below. 

Current Projects

ETSU Alumni Phonathon : The ETSU University Advancement office contracted with ASRL in the fall to conduct the annual alumni phonathon. Using the 11-station CATI calling center we have contacted over 90,000 alumni to update their records and fundraise for ETSU. Over the course of the fall 2014 and spring 2015 we will call additional 70,000+ alumni!

Johnson City Police Department Targeted Community Crime Reduction Program Grant:  In the fall of 2012, Drs. McCallister and Foster were contracted to conduct a preliminary community needs assessment of certain areas of Johnson City. The results of this assessment were used by the Johnson City Police Department to prepare a grant application with the Office of Criminal Justice Programs. In February of 2013, JCPD was awarded the Targeted Community Crime Reduction Program grant which officially kicked-off in April of 2013. ASRL was chosen as the evaluators for this 3-year community grant. This project is a comprehensive evaluation which includes in-person interviews, surveys, phone calls, web surveying, focus groups, as well as qualitative documentation of change in the target areas by photographs.

The United Way of Bristol Community Needs Assessment: Under the supervision of Dr. Foster, two Masters of Sociology students, Morgan Jones and Reagan Barbee, are working with the United Way of Bristol to conduct their comprehensive community needs assessment. In the fall of 2013, Ms. Jones and Ms. Barbee conducted focus groups to determine areas of concern among various community groups and Dr. Foster lead a community town hall to receive input from the community and make them aware of the upcoming needs assessment. The general population and business owner surveys were fielded in Spring 2014. Results will be released Fall 2014.

Faculty & Staff

Dr. Kelly Foster, Director
email. 
office. 423-439-4374
cell. 706-540-0449

Dr. Foster came to ETSU in 2012 from The University of Georgia where she spent 6.5 years specializing in survey research at the Carl Vinson Institute of Government and 3 years focusing on health-related survey methodology at The College of Public Health. Her expertise is in research methodology, including survey research, questionnaire design, health-related survey methodology, and new technologies in research methodology. Dr. Foster served 2 years on the executive council for the American Association of Public Opinion Research (AAPOR), the leading organization for survey researchers in this country, and is past-president for the Southern chapter of AAPOR. Dr. Foster has worked extensively with local and state governments on public opinion polling and citizen engagement.

Dr. Scott Beck, Executive Director
email. 
office. 423-439-6067
cell. 423-557-4370 

Dr. Beck has over 30 years of experience in conducting research and statistical analysis. He has conducted evaluations of a pilot welfare program, a community development project, a Drug Court program, a GEAR UP educational program and a college retention pilot program.  Dr. Beck serves as the Director of Planning and Evaluation for the Center for Community Outreach and Applied Research.

Ms. Morgan Jones, MA,  Project Manager
email.
office. 423-232-0862

Ms. Jones graduated from the Masters of Sociology program at ETSU. She has experience in questionnaire design, conducting focus groups, web survey programming, data analysis and statistics. She is responsible for overall project management and works with faculty on their research design and logistics for all projects at the ASRL. Additionally, Ms. Jones works with undergraduate student workers and Masters of Sociology students in their work with ASRL projects. In 2014 Ms. Jones is an active member of the American Association of Public Opinion Research (AAPOR), the leading organization for survey researchers in this country.

Dr. Leslie McCallister, Senior Faculty Affiliate
email. 
*Dr. McCallister is currently on a leave of absence through June 2015. Please contact Dr. Foster or Dr. Beck for information on ASRL services*

Dr. McCallister has 15 years of experience conducting community-based research projects. Since her arrival at ETSU, she has worked with multiple community agencies such as the Church Hill Free Medical Clinic, Coalition for Kids, Project Access, the Johnson City Community Health Center (formerly the Downtown Clinic) to design and implement program evaluation strategies. Her areas of expertise include survey research, questionnaire design, focus groups, grant writing, and program evaluation.