Patricia Leavy, PhD is a best-selling author, book series creator and editor, and an internationally recognized leader in research design and arts-based research. She is widely considered the world’s most visible proponent of arts-based research as a means of making research publicly accessible. As an author, Dr. Leavy has earned critical and commercial success in both nonfiction and fiction.
After receiving several prestigious awards and fellowships Dr. Leavy earned her Ph.D. in Sociology at Boston College in 2002. Dr. Leavy was a tenured Associate Professor of Sociology at Stonehill College from 2002-2012 where she also served as Founding Director of the Gender Studies Program and the Chairperson of the Sociology & Criminology Department. Dr. Leavy previously taught at Boston College, Northeastern University and Curry College. In 2012 Dr. Leavy left academia to focus her full-time efforts on her work as an author and public intellectual.
A prolific author, Dr. Leavy’s 25+ published books include: Privilege Through the Looking-Glass (Sense Publishers, 2018); Handbook of Arts-Based Research (Guilford Press, 2018), Research Design: Quantitative, Qualitative, Mixed Methods, Arts-Based, and Community-Based Participatory Research Approaches (Guilford Press, 2017); Low-Fat Love Stories, co-authored, (Sense Publishers, 2017); Blue (Sense Publishers, 2016); The Oxford Handbook of Qualitative Research (Oxford University Press, 2014); Gender & Pop Culture: A Text Reader, co-edited (Sense Publishers, 2014); American Circumstance (Sense Publishers, 2013; 2016);Fiction as Research Practice: Novels, Novellas and Short Stories (Left Coast Press, 2013); Low-Fat Love (Sense Publishers, 2011; 2015); Essentials of Transdisciplinary Research: Using Problem-Centered Methodologies (Left Coast Press, 2011); Oral History: Understanding Qualitative Research (Oxford University, 2011); The Practice of Qualitative Research, , co-authored (Sage Publications, 2005; 2011); Method Meets Art: Arts-Based Research Practice (Guilford Publications, 2009; 2015); Hybrid Identities: Theoretical and Empirical Examinations, co-edited (Brill Publishers 2008, & Haymarket Publishers, 2009; Handbook of Emergent Research Methods, co-edited (Guilford Publications, 2008); Iconic Events: Media, Politics, and Power in Retelling History (Lexington Books, 2007); Feminist Research Practice: A Primer, co-authored (Sage Publications, 2007); Emergent Methods in Social Research, co-edited (Sage Publications, 2006); The Practice of Qualitative Research, co-authored (Sage Publications, 2005); Approaches to Qualitative Research: A Reader on Theory and Practice, co-edited (Oxford University Press, 2004).
In addition to her own writing, Dr. Leavy is widely recognized for her pioneering work creating innovative publishing opportunities for other scholars and artists, through the 9 book series for which she is creator and series editor. Oxford University Press hand-picked Dr. Leavy to serve as editor for their book series, Understanding Qualitative Research (which focuses on how to effectively write-up and understand qualitative research methods). Dr. Leavy and Oxford announced in 2016 a large new venture: the “Research to the Point” textbook series which will publish qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods texbooks across the disciplines. The textbook series will publish methods-specific as well as discipline-specific textbooks. The hallmark of the series is “accessibility.” Dr. Leavy also created 7 book series for which she formed a partnership with Brill/Sense (an imprint of Brill). The award-winning Social Fictions publishes literary works (such as novels, plays, poetry and short story collections) that are informed by research and teaching experiences. This is the first book series to exclusively publish the products of arts-based research. The Teaching Gender and Teaching Race & Ethnicity series illustrate Dr. Leavy’s ongoing commitment to social justice and equality. The Teaching Writing series provides writing instruction in a variety of fields and genres. The Personal/Public Scholarship series values public scholarship in all fields (research that is accessible outside of the academy). In 2019 Dr. Leavy announced the development of two new book series: Art Plus which will look at the intersection of art and other disciplines and A Little Bit About which will publish concise introductions to a range of social science and education subjects.
A vocal advocate of public scholarship, Dr. Leavy has appeared on national news, radio, and is regularly quoted by the print and online news media (for example, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today). She is also routinely interviewed about her work by popular and scholarly media. She has blogged for The Huffington Post, The Creativity Post, We Are the Real Deal, and other outlets.
Dr. Leavy’s works have garnered a slew of book awards. Most recently, Privilege Through the Looking-Glass earned a 2018 USA Best Book Award in the category anthologies– nonfiction and Handbook of Arts-Based Research earned a 2018 USA Best Book Award in the category education/academic. Her novel Spark earned a 2019 American Fiction Award in the category inspirational fiction and a 2019 Living Now Book Award in the category adventure fiction.
She has also received numerous career awards. In recognition of her significant contributions to the discipline of sociology The New England Sociological Association named Dr. Leavy the 2010 New England Sociologist of the Year. Dr. Leavy received a 2014 Special Achievement Award from the American Creativity Association which honors creativity and innovation in every field. The Special Achievement award recognizes her extraordinary work advancing arts-based research and the ground-breaking Social Fictions series. Arts-based scholars from all over the world, including many of the Social Fictions authors, sent in letters of support calling Dr. Leavy “a visionary” and the Social Fictions series “a watershed moment in the academy.” In 2015 Dr. Leavy was announced as the youngest recipient of the Special Career Award given by the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry. The award recognizes her entire body of work, and particularly honors her advancement of qualitative and arts-based research. In that same year Dr. Leavy was also honored with the Egon Guba Memorial Lecture Award by the Qualitative Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association. In 2016 Mogul, a global women’s empowerment platform, named Dr. Leavy an “Influencer” alongside Chelsea Clinton, musician Melissa Etheridge, fashion editor Nina Garcia, and other notable women. In 2018 she received the Distinguished Contributions Outside of the Profession Award from the National Art Education Association, the Division D Significant Contribution to Educational Measurement and Methodology Award from the American Educational Research Association, and was honored by the National Women’s Hall of Fame. In 2018 SUNY-New Paltz established “The Patricia Leavy Award for Art and Social Justice.” They presented Dr. Leavy with a plaque honoring her pioneering work and then gave the inaugural award to a student.