Q&A with Social Scientist Vito D’Orazio

June 20, 2016

Dr. Vito D’Orazio is an assistant professor of political science in the School of Economic, Political, and Policy Sciences. Last fall, shortly after arriving at the university, Dr. D’Orazio was awarded a grant by the National Science Foundation to update a database that documents the use of military force and threats of force in various nations. Prior to his arrival at UT Dallas in the Fall of 2015, Dr. D’Orazio was a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard University’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science.

How would you explain your research focus?

My research is focused on the study of conflict and security cooperation in the international system using empirical research methods. I have an interest in measurement and in developing new methods for collecting data from news reports. I am also one of the authors of TwoRavens, a statistical analysis tool that facilitates data exploration and teaching with data in the classroom.

Why did you decide to enter your field?

At some point during my undergraduate years, I decided I wanted to become a professor so that I could teach and work with students like myself. As a graduate of a community college, I felt I had something to offer that many other faculty did not. So, I decided to go to graduate school to study my favorite subject, international relations. During my upper-level undergraduate classes, I realized that learning how to study international relations was every bit as important as learning the substance and theory of international relations. Thus, I made the decision to pursue a PhD in international relations and research methods.

How has your research influenced your teaching?

My research incorporates questions of measurement and research methods, and so naturally so does my teaching. For example, in my classes I spend time talking about how the authors reach the conclusions that they do.

What do you like most about UTD?

The students. Although I have only been here for a year, I have found the students to be thoughtful and interested in learning.

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