Through the Carthage Office for Research and Evaluation Services (CORES), clients of all types solicit the help of Prof. Thompson. A former president of the Wisconsin Sociological Association, he trains students in proper research methods. The students, in turn, recruit other members to assist with the latest studies.
Prof. Thompson has worked for and done research on several religious denominations, and those contacts led to the most expansive study to date. CORES is studying the hundreds of congregations that have separated from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, as well as those that have left the Presbyterian Church (USA) since those denominations voted to allow ordination of gay and lesbian clergy. He and his students have presented their results at local and regional scholarly conferences.
“This is a scope of a project you wouldn’t normally see at a college this size,” he said.
Variety of topics
Other research projects have included:
- surveys of tribal and local residents in Lac du Flambeau, where Prof. Thompson has a cottage, regarding the effects of aquatic invasive species on water quality and wildlife. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources uses the findings to determine a course of action.
- evaluations of nature education programs in the northeastern United States. Professor Doug Arion partners with the Appalachian Mountain Club to put on the programs at AMC sites, with Carthage students serving as interns.
- a study focused on two Wisconsin communities that examined why some parents choose to send their children to Catholic schools and why others don’t. The Journal of Catholic Education published an article detailing his findings .
- a needs assessment of neighborhoods on the south side of Racine, Wis.
Prof. Thompson also advises Carthage faculty members in the formation of their own surveys.