Stratification, Inequality, and Mobility; Work and Family; Life Course; Quantitative Methods.
Cheng's research focuses mainly on four areas:
1. Stratification and mobility: How inequality gets produced and reproduced over the life course and across generations.
2. Work and family: How work and family interact in shaping individuals' behavior and attainment, and how individuals' employment trajectories are linked by family and other social relations.
3. Social networks. The structural effect of social context on the formation of social networks; how networks shape the stratification and mobility in the labor market.
4. Quantitative methodology. Causal inference in cross-sectional and longitudinal data; discrete choice models, network analysis.