Shannon Harper receives dissertation award


Shannon Harper, assistant professor of sociology, received the Outstanding Dissertation Award from the Graduate College and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago last month for her dissertation, “A Mixed-Methods Analysis of Neighborhood Domestic Violence Resources and Intimate Partner Homicide.”

Harper’s research uses a mixed-methods analysis to look at the relationship between domestic violence resources and intimate partner homicide (IPH) trajectories in specific neighborhoods. The mixed-methods approach demonstrates how women at risk of homicide are pushed and pulled in different directions within their communities as they work to negotiate their safety in relationships fraught with life-threatening danger.

The quantitative study reveals that domestic violence legal and referral services are associated with a decreased likelihood of higher trajectory group membership, while batterer counseling services are associated with increased likelihood of higher trajectory group membership. The qualitative study demonstrates that severely abused women experience unique patterns in seeking and deciding to get help. Collectively, the qualitative findings help to deconstruct severely abused women’s complex help-seeking contemplation and decision-making processes through which the neighborhood IPH risk outcomes identified in the quantitative study are realized.

Harper is honored to receive the dissertation award.

“I invested my heart and soul into conducting rigorous, meaningful research that could potentially make a difference for women at risk of homicide within their abusive relationships,” she said. “The award made me believe that my hard work really paid off.”