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Experience Makes a Difference

Academic studies. Career exploration. Community involvement.

We aim to enrich undergraduate education in the Faculty of Social Sciences through fostering unique approaches to learning within the classroom and more actively engaging students in the community, as well as promoting strong relationships between academic studies, career exploration and community involvement.















Learn about Spark: a centre for social research innovation within McMaster's Faculty of Social Sciences. Spark connects researchers to the people, skills and tools needed to stand at the forefront of social research innovation. It is our mission to engage with researchers and community organizations to harness the full power of social research to build a brighter world. 

Learn More

Featured Workshop Videos

From the Relevant Research Series

This workshop explores the latest understanding of how social and political opinions are formed and re-formed, and the implications for how researchers should think about designing the message that communicates their work. Dr. Brian Southwell talks about the Mental Models, Trust, and the Translation of Science. 

Link to Video

From Productivity During Pandemic

Drs. Nairn and Showden worked with their research ethics board to re-imagine the informed consent process as a document built together with communities in stages as trust deepens.  McMaster Research Ethics team offers how the same strategy can be used here.

Link to Video

From Productivity During Pandemic

Yotam Shmargad is interested in how ideas spread.  Not surprisingly then, he spends a lot of time analyzing data off of Twitter. He shares an approach to data selection based on the snowball sampling used to find research participants.

Link to Video

Featured News Stories

Yes, a spark, but what about a brighter spark?

Brighter Spark has been working quietly over the last year with a few partners and now will be expanding its work both in the community and with other researchers. It will bridge the gap between academia and the community, by providing research support to groups working on real world issues. In this article, we outline exciting projects in our new launch.
Mar 02, 2021


Using the tools of bibliometrics, you can document the influence of your own publications, the work of those scholars you are associated with or the types of articles a particular journal publishes. Dr. Fei Yu, a health technology informatics librarian at the University of North Carolina is very excited about all that bibliometrics can reveal, and wants you to be too.
Mar 02, 2021

Emerging international powers are all in on Big Data. What will it mean?

How does the way our government handles big data influence our daily lives? In a talk in our Productivity during Pandemic series, Laura Mahrenbach speaks about the “Emerging Powers and Big Data: Domestic Transformations and Global Power Shifts”. And boy, did it raise a lot of questions.
Mar 01, 2021

For people to understand you, you must first understand them

Each year, Spark decides on a topic that we think is really important to innovation in social research and we find the most amazing thinkers and doers we can, from all over the world, to offer related workshops. Learn more about our the relevance of research and how it can be effectively translated to the public in this article.
Mar 01, 2021

Ask Better Questions

If you will be conducting interviews, the Productivity during Pandemic talk “Better Interview Questions” with Allison Van can help you with the first step: figuring out your questions.
Jan 23, 2021

Spark: a centre for social research innovation launch event

We're pleased to invite you to a launch party for Spark: the centre for social research innovation on January 25, 2021. Join us for research-related breakout sessions, musical performances and drag bingo, and learn more about the research support and services we offer the McMaster community.
Jan 11, 2021