I use computational methods to study social movements, culture, gender, institutions, and the history of feminism. I'm particularly interested in developing automated text analysis for sociology using open-source tools.

I just started as an Assistant Professor in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities at Northeastern. For 2016-2017 I am on leave as a postdoctoral fellow at Digital Humanities @ Berkeley and the Berkeley Institute for Data Science.

Previously I was a postdoctoral research fellow in the Management and Organizations Department in the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and was a research affiliate at the Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems.

I am an open source and open science enthusiast. I seek to use open-source tools and computational methods to make the interpretive social sciences and the humanities more reliable, reproducible, and scalable.

Recent Publications:


Nelson, Laura K. Forthcoming. “Computational Grounded Theory: A Methodological Framework.” Sociological Methods and Research.

Replication Repository here.


I recently contributed to Brayden King's blog forum on inclusivity and diversity in data analytics, in particular sports analytics. I used this opportunity to call for a critical feminist computational social science.

Part 1 here (including my post)

Part 2 here