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Robson Karen, Associate Professor | Ontario Research Chair in Educational Achievement and At-Risk Youth

Karen Robson

Associate Professor | Ontario Research Chair in Educational Achievement and At-Risk Youth

Department of Sociology


  • PhD (Applied Social and Economic Research), University of Essex, 2004
  • MA (Sociology), University of Calgary, 1998
  • BA(Honours), (Sociology) University of Alberta, 1996


  • Sociology 2P6  (Sociology of Education), Mondays 7pm-9pm (full year)


Currently Principal Investigator on a SSHRC Insight Grant entitled

"Widening Post-secondary Access Pathways of Marginalized Youth in Gateway Cities".

Recently, I have also been involved in a few research projects with York Sociology Professor (Emeritus) Paul Anisef and Dr. Robert Brown, a research co-ordinator from the Toronto District School Board. We have worked together on MTCU and HEQCO funded projects around the general issue of postsecondary transitions of students. We have been looking, in particular, at how race, class, gender, and special education needs impact upon the transition to postsecondary students in Toronto. We have also examined the trajectories of students in the Toronto District School Board's Continuing Educaton day programs.


Books and Monographs

  • 2015 (forthcoming, publisher’s agreement from July 2010). Robson, Karen and Pevalin, David. Multilevel Modelling in Plain English, Sage.
  • 2012. Robson, Karen. Sociology of Education in Canada, Pearson Canada.
  • 2011. Neuman, Lawrence W. and Robson, Karen L. The Basics of Social Research: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. Second Canadian Edition. Pearson Education.
  • 2009. Pevalin, David and Robson, Karen L. Stata Survival Manual. Open University Press.
  • 2009. Robson, Karen and Sanders, Chris (Eds). Quantifying Theory: Pierre Bourdieu. Springer. 


Chapters in Books

  • Forthcoming. 2015. Harrison, D., Albanese, P.,  Robson, K.,  and Sanders, C. “Findings from Armyville”, in Deborah Harrison and Patrizia Albanese (Eds). Military Families in Canada. Wilfred Laurier University Press.
  • Forthcoming. 2015. Robson, K., Anisef, P., and Brown, R.S. “Identifying the Complexity of Barriers Faced by Marginalized Youth in Transition to Postsecondary Education in Ontario”, in Wolfgang Lehmann (E d) The Sociology of Education in Canada: Contemporary Debates and Perspectives, London: Oxford University Press.
  • 2011. Robson, K. “The After Life of NEETS,” Pp 185-209 in Attewell, Paul and Newman, Katherine S. (Eds) Growing Gaps: Educational Inequality around the World, Oxford University Press.
  • 2012. Smeeding, T., Wing, C., Robson, K. and Gershuny, J. “Poverty and Income Support for Minority and Immigrant Children in Rich Countries. Pp 63-89 in Masten, A,   Liebkind, K.,Hernandez, D (Eds.) RealizingThe Potential of Immigrant Youth. Cambridge University Press.
  • 2009. Smeeding, T. M., Wing, C.  and  Robson, K. “Differences in Social Transfer Support and Poverty for Immigrant Families with Children Lessons from the LIS,” Pp 1-24 in Immigration, Diversity, and Education edited by L. Grigorenko and Ruby Takanishi, Routeledge, NY.
  • 2009. Robson, K. “Teenage Time Use as Investment in Cultural Capital,” Pp 105-116 in: K. Robson and C. Sanders (Eds). Quantifying Theory: Pierre Bourdieu. Springer.


Articles (Refereed)

  • 2014. Robson, K., Anisef, P., Brown, R. S., and Parekh, G. “The Intersectionality of Postsecondary Pathways: The Case of High School Students with Special Education Needs” Canadian Review of Sociology, 51(3), 193-215.
  • 2014. Robson, K., Albanese, P., Harrison, D., and Sanders, C. “School Engagement among Youth in Canadian Forces Families: A Comparative Analysis,” Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 59(3), 363-381.
  • 2014.  Chaze, F. and Robson, K.  “In Control of Life Chances? Visible Minority Immigrants and Sense of Mastery,” Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies,12(3), 161-171.
  • 2013. Darmody,  M., Robson, K. and McMahon, L. “Young People and Social Capital: Transition from Primary Schools to Lower Secondary Level in Ireland ,” Irish Journal of Sociology, 20(1):19-38
  • 2011. Harrison, D.; Robson, K., Albanese, P., Sanders, S., and Newburn-Cook, C. “The Impact of Shared Location on the Mental Health of Military and Civilian Adolescents in a Community Affected by Frequent Deployments: A Research Note” Armed Forces & Society, 37(3): 550-560.
  • 2010. Robson, K. “Changes in Family Structure and the Well-being of British Children: Evidence from a Fifteen-Year Panel Study,” Child Indicators Research, 3(1): 65-83.
  • 2009. Osterlund, K. and Robson, K.  “The Impact of ICT on Work–life Experiences among University Teaching Assistants,” Computers and Education, 52(2): 432-437.
  • 2008. Robson, K. and Pevalin, D.“Gender Differences in the Predictors and Outcomes of Young Parenthood,” Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 25: 205-218.
  • 2008. Pevalin, D. and Robson, K. “Social Determinants of Health Inequalities in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Public Health, 121: 588-595.
  • 2006. Robson, K. and Anderson, G. “Male Adolescents’ Contributions to Household Labor as Predictors of Later-Life Participation in Housework,” Journal of Men’s Studies, 14(1): 1-12.
  • 2006. Robson, K and Berthoud, R.  “Age at First Birth and Disadvantage among Ethnic Groups in Britain,” Ethnic and Racial Studies, 29(1): 153-172. 
  • 2005. Anderson, G. and Robson, K. “Language as Status in Multilingual Switzerland,” Swiss Journal of Sociology, 31(1):  55-78.
  • 2003. Robson, K. and Berthoud, R. “Teenage Motherhood in Europe: A Multi-Country Analysis of Socioeconomic Outcomes,” European Sociological Review, 19(5): 451-466.
  • 2001. Robson, K. and Wallace, J. “Gendered Inequalities in Earnings: a study of Canadian Lawyers,” Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology, 38(1): 75-95.



  • 2014. Robson, K., Anisef, P. and Brown, R.S. Identifying the Complexity of Barriers Faced by Marginalized Youth in Transition to Postsecondary Education in Ontario. Ontario Human Capital Research and Innovation Fund Final Report, Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities.
  • 2013. Anisef, P., Brown, R., Robson, K., and Newton, L. Non-traditional post-secondary education pathways of adult learners in the Toronto District School Board. Toronto: Higher Education Quality  Council of Ontario
  • 2007. Robson, K. and Feinstein, L. “Leisure contexts in adolescence and their associations with adult outcomes: a more complete picture,” Department for Education and Skills, (UK).
  • 2001. Berthoud, R. and Robson, K.. “The Outcomes of Teenage Motherhood in Europe,” Innocenti Working Paper 86, UNICEF.