Sara Dorow, PhD, MA, BA

Professor, Faculty of Arts - Sociology Dept
Director, International Institute for Qualitative Methodology, Faculty of Arts - ACE

Pronouns: she/her


Professor, Faculty of Arts - Sociology Dept
5-21 Tory (H.M.) Building
11211 Saskatchewan Drive NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2H4

Director, International Institute for Qualitative Methodology, Faculty of Arts - ACE


Area of Study / Keywords

Feminist Political Economy Gender Globalizatoin Migration & Mobilities Qualitative Methods Qualitative Research Race and Racialization Sociology Transationalism Work and Family


Sara Dorow is Professor of Sociology at the University of Alberta, where she also serves as Director of the International Institute for Qualitative Methodology (iiQM). She completed her bachelor’s degree in East Asian Studies from Valparaiso University in Indiana before attending the University of Minnesota, where she received her Master’s degree in East Asian Studies and her doctoral degree in Sociology. She has also previously served as the founder and director of the U of A’s Community Service-Learning (CSL) program; Chair and Associate Chair in the U of A’s Sociology department; and Associate Director of the U of A’s Intersections of Gender signature research area. 

When not researching, teaching, writing, or administering, Dorow gardens, bikes, and aspires to paint.


Dorow uses qualitative research methods to examine mobility and migration, work and family, and processes of racialization and gendering. Under the auspices of a SSHRC Insight Grant, she currently heads up the project Work-Life in Canada, which uses a multi-media approach–stories, photographs, and sound–to explore and convey the meaning of work for diverse workers across Canada. For about 15 years prior to that, she conducted multi-method ethnographic work in Fort McMurray and the oil sands region. She was the Alberta team lead for the On the Move Partnership, a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council-funded (SSHRC) partnership grant that studied employees, employers and communities across Canada to gain insight into employment-related geographic mobility and how it affects personal, economic and community development. 

Dorow’s research often takes up intersectional and/or transnational approaches. She was a co-investigator of the Kule Institute for Advanced Study-funded Research at the Intersections of Gender project, and was also part of the Feminist Energy Futures project, funded by SSHRC. Most recently, Dorow is spearheading the Intersectionality in Action Partnership: Co-learning for Inclusive Community Outcomes (2023–2025), an ongoing SSHRC-funded project that applies an intersectional lens to two community-based housing partnerships. In the earlier part of her career, Dorow studied issues of race, gender, and kinship in transnational adoption, penning the first monograph on China-U.S. adoption. 

Dorow is dedicated to research excellence and putting knowledge into practice, including through research-teaching linkages and community partnerships. Her current role involves re-building the iiQM through opportunities for scholars at all points in their career to push the boundaries of qualitative research. In addition to the major report Mobile Work and Mental Health, Dorow also co-produced Alberta Stories and Mapping Life in Fort McMurray, online collections that foreground narrative approaches to understanding community. In 2009, she was one of two recipients of the Distinguished Academic Early Career Award from the Confederation of Alberta Faculty Associations (CAFA) for her commitment to knowledge mobilization. For her significant contributions to the advancement of women and equity-seeking minority groups in the campus community, Dorow — along with her research collaborators — was recognized as a 2018 Woman of the Year by the U of A’s Academic Women's Association.


Dorow has taught a wide variety of courses at all levels, and currently teaching Qualitative Methods (Soc 418 and 518) and Sociology of Childhood (Soc 402). She has often also taught Sociology of Family (Soc 271) and Sociology of Globalization (Soc 369). Dorow sees teaching as inseparable from the other two "pillars" of academic life -- research and service -- and from her own lifelong learning. The classroom is an exciting, significant, and sometimes (and importantly) uncertain place of interaction. Dorow has integrated service-learning into both undergraduate and graduate courses. 

Dorow supervises graduate students pursuing a variety of topics related to migration/mobility, feminist political economy, identity, transnationalism, the social side of resource extraction, housing, and gender, race, and family.


SOC 402 - Topics in Sociology

Prerequisite: SOC 100 or consent of the instructor. Note: Consult the Department for any additional prerequisites. Course may be taken more than once if topic(s) vary.

SOC 418 - Qualitative Methods in Social Research

Further study of the design and evaluation of qualitative research strategies. Topics include participant observation, ethnomethodology, unobtrusive measures, and document analysis. Prerequisites: SOC 315 or consent of instructor.

Browse more courses taught by Sara Dorow

Featured Publications

Gendered Circuits of Care in the Mobility Regime of the Alberta Oil Sands

S. Dorow and S. Mandizadza

Gender, Place & Culture. 2018 August; 25 (8)

Putting Mobility Theory to Work: Conceptualizing Employment-Related Geographical Mobility

T. Cresswell, S. Dorow, & S. Roseman

Putting Mobility Theory to Work: Conceptualizing Employment-Related Geographical Mobility. 2016 September; 48 (9)

Sara Dorow, Sarah O'Shaughnessy

Canadian Journal of Sociology. 2013 January; 38 (2)

Sara Dorow

2006 January;