I work at the intersection of sociology and urban planning. My dissertation work is focused specifically on how trust (or lack thereof impacts community and neighborhood-level outcomes. I am looking into just how we measure trust on the community scale and then how we understand its impact. Taking this one step further, I am also interested in trust repair and what can be done to rebuild trust in order to enhance well-being across the community.
My work is largely qualitative with some mixed-methods work being thrown in when appropriate. But, the foundation of my work is based on public engagement research and key informant interviews.
In addition to my particular dissertation work, I am also interested in all forms of public engagement and the facilitation of effective public meetings. Lastly, my work also includes a keen interest in democratic capacity and how we better improve our civic dialogue practices.
Copenheaver, C. A., Kidd, K. R., Shockey, M. D., & Stephens, B. A. (2014). Environmental and social factors influencing the price of land in southwestern virginia, usa, 1786-1830. Mountain Research and Development, 34(4), 386–395. https://doi.org/10.1659/MRD-JOURNAL-D-12-00124.1
Master’s Research & Thesis
Stephens, B. (2016). Understanding the Tea Party Response to Local Environmental Initiatives: A Conflict Between Individualism and Collectivism [Master’s thesis, Virginia Tech]. VTechWorks.