Professor Ainslie’s scholarship explores communities in the United States and Mexico distressed by violence, ethnic/racial tension, and social transformation, including an interest in the relationship between social fabric and community resilience. His scholarship also explores the psychology of immigration both at an individual and at a collective level. He uses descriptive, qualitative methods in his research, often including documentary film. His research team, Media-Based Inquiry, explores the use of media in scholarship in addition to conventional channels such as books and articles. His research has been supported by grants from the Texas arm of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, among others foundations.