Victor Thiessen

Emeritus Professor

Mailing Address: 
Room 1128, McCain Building, 6135 University Avenue
PO Box 15000, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3H 4R2


  • BA, University of Manitoba
  • MA, PhD, University of Wisconsin

Research interests

Victor Thiessen is a sociologist with three main areas of interest. One focus is school to work transitions: the pathways along which young Canadians navigate their way from schooling to employment, including how gender and family background differences lead to divergent educational and occupational/labour market outcomes.  

Dr. Thiessen also investigates the question of whether young people's access to and use of information and communication technology can reduce inequities that stem from traditional structural barriers, such as gender, immigrant status, and social class background.

Finally, Dr. Thiessen is developing a theory of systematic bias in research. The approach taken is to incorporate substantive hypotheses into the data collection process. For example, the "fallacy of assumed similarity" postulates that individuals will perceive others of their own groups as being more similar to themselves than they really are. Incorporating this "fallacy" into a theory of systematic measurement error would lead to the awareness that socialization studies overestimate the influence parents have on their children. This is because most studies use children's perception of parents’ attitudes and behaviours as a proxy for the parents' answers.

Selected publications

  • 2009  “The processes linking parental socio-economic status to cognitive skill development of children between 6 and 18 years of age: An assessment of the current literature.” Manuscript prepared for Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.
  • 2009  “Bridging and bonding social capital: Computer and internet use among youth in relation to their cultural identities” (with E. Dianne Looker).  In E. Dianne Looker and Ted. D. Naylor (eds.) Digital Diversity: Youth Equity, and Information Technology. Wilfred Laurier Press
  • 2009  "Facts and artifacts in cross-national research: The case of political efficacy and trust" (with Jörg Blasius). In Max Haller and Tom Smith (eds.) Charting the Globe. The International Social Survey Programme 1984-2009. Routledge.
  • 2009  "The pursuit of post-secondary education: A comparison of First Nations, African, Asian, and European Canadian youth." Canadian Review of Sociology. 46 (1)
  • 2008  "Resilience and educational pathways: A longitudinal analysis of low reading achievers." Canadian Journal of Family and Youth. 1 (1): 27-62
  • 2008  "Cultural centrality and information and communication technology among Canadian youth" (with E. Dianne Looker). Canadian Journal of Sociology 33 (2): 309-334