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COVID-19 information and updates

Find the most recent updates here, as well as FAQs and information for students, faculty and staff.

Upcoming Events


Productivity during Pandemic

Every Friday during the Pandemic, we look at the silver lining by bringing in an innovative researcher from anywhere in the world to talk to us about their work, particular methods or tools, or careers in applied research.  This is a grab bag – every week is a surprise. 

Check out previous speakers

Upcoming Events

EE: Statistics Canada: Data-driven Insights on Black communities in Canada

Every year, Statistics Canada is proud to join our partners and all Canadians in celebrating Black History Month, which honours and celebrates the rich history, achievements and contributions of Black Canadians who have helped to shape this country we all know and love.

 In honour of this important month, Statistics Canada will soon host its latest A Data Story event, called: Statistics Canada: Data-driven Insights on Black communities in Canada. This two-hour virtual event is an exciting opportunity for our experts to connect and collaborate with you—our data users and stakeholders—to better understand your evolving data needs.


 The event will highlight StatCan’s valuable data and insights on Black communities in Canada. It will feature remarks by the Chief Statistician of Canada, Anil Arora, and a keynote address by Assistant Chief Statisticians Lynn-Barr-Telford and Greg Peterson, who are responsible for several areas of social and economic statistics, respectively.


 The event is open to all Government of Canada employees and the general public. Help us share these valuable insights by forwarding this invitation to your network!

  • Date: Wednesday, February 24, 2021
  • Time: 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. EST.


Register Here

PDP: How People’s Experience with Local Government Can Hamstring National Governments in Times of Pandemic Mobilization

Description:We argue that people’s everyday interactions with local government shape people’s perceptions of the national government, with implications for how easily the national government can compel citizens to comply with rules during emergencies –like pandemics. We provide support for this argument with an original online survey experiment conducted across two Mexican states in the summer of 2020.

Speaker: Tom Vargas is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Political Methodology at McMaster University. His research focuses on social policy in Latin America.

  • Date: Friday, February 2
  • Time: 10:30 – 11:30am

Register in advance for this meeting below!
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Register Here

RR: Design Principles for Data Visualization, Session 1 of 2

Session 1: Perception & data visualization design principles

This session is the first in a 2-part workshop, Design Principles for Data Visualization.

Hosted by Juan Velasco, a visual journalist with a long career focused on visualizing complex research and scientific information, this session will help participants understand why design is an important part of data visualization. It will also introduce important visual perception principles that should inform data visualization design.

  • Date: March 5, 2021
  • Time: 10:30am – 12:00pm



Register Here

Roundtable: Social Media Research Ethics – Power and Provocations

This roundtable, organized by our partners at the Sherman Centre, brings together researchers from a variety of disciplines to assess the embedded power structures of social media research and the frameworks for assessing such research as ‘ethical’.

Facilitators: Andrea Zeffiro, Emily Van Haren, Isaac Pratt, Jay Brodeur

Date: March 26, 2021

Learn more

Spark Open House

Watch our research-related workshops presented at the launch party for Spark: the centre for social research innovation on January 25, 2021. Learn more about the research support and services we offer the McMaster community.


Build a compelling academic website

Spark's own webmaster, Celine Keomany, shares in this short video the elements of an effective academic website and some of the tools you can use to build one. 

Link to Video


Asking and Analyzing Demographic Questions for Intersectionality

Rochelle Wijesingha, a member of the Brighter Spark Applied Research team discusses how to address demographic questions in quantitative analysis in ways that both reflect complex human realities and that are viable for analysis.  With clear planning and intentionality, meaningful quantitative or mixed-methods studies exploring intersectional identities can be done. 

Link to Video


Online Focus Groups

Listen to Abbe Edelson speak about what it's like to participate in an asynchronous online focus group. 

Link to Video


Data Visualization in Excel

Data visualization can feel daunting. In this workshop, Allison Van introduces very simple tools and templates Spark uses to help people begin creating better visuals right away. And we'll actually creative an attractive visual excel. 

Link to Video


Brighter Spark Applied Research

Watch Allison Van discuss the services Spark offers in this workshop. Spark offers up to four hours of research consultation free of charge to any researcher at Mac.  Not sure if we could help with your challenge?  Sign up for a 10-minute mini-session and we'll find out.  

Link to Video


Social media for researchers

Equity Burke, a research coordinator at the Gilbrea Centre and member of the communications team at Spark, speaks about the use of social media to advance research careers. 

Link to Video


Data collection in AppSheet

Gavin Zhao, member of the Brighter Spark Applied Research team introduces AppSheet, a google add-on that allows you to create custom apps.  Zhao built an app for Brighter Spark's evaluation of a youth employment program, allowing youth to both track progress toward their goals, and make text, video, visual notes about the progress of their experience.  These pieces of data are returned to the youth at the end of the program to map the changes in their lives.

Link to Video

Building compelling video for knowledge mobilization

Supriya Thukral, communications team member at Spark who produced the videos on our website, discusses features of compelling video that can be applied to knowledge mobilization of research. 

Link to Video

What We Do at Spark

In this short video, Michelle Dion, Academic Director of Spark outlines what Spark: a centre for social research innovation is about and how we support social researchers and community leaders.

Link to Video

What do we do about outliers?

In this short video, Michelle Dion, Academic Director of Spark discusses outliers - instances of data that do not fit the theory or model - and the range of approaches to addressing them effectively. 

Link to Video

Data Management 101

In this short video, Michelle Dion, Academic Director of Spark introduces the key considerations involved in effective data management and resources for doing it right. 

Link to Video