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Spark Newsletter: August 26, 2021

Read our bi-weekly news from Spark: a centre for social research innovation at McMaster University. In this newsletter, we highlight centre news, upcoming events, and updated resources for researchers. To subscribe to our mailing list, please email

Sep 03, 2021

Save the Date!

Mark your calendars, the first Spark Talk of the 2021-2022 school year will be September 10th at 10:30 am. Michelle Dion will be bringing us “Back to School”  with an overview of tips and tricks for virtual platforms, backup services and accessing digital materials.

Pre-Register for "Back to School"

Spark’s Annual Open House Event

Want to learn more about the Spark Centre and how we can help you? Join our annual event this year on September 24th at 10:30-12:30 pm for information, research sessions and fun! Stay tuned for the full agenda!

The replay continues! Spark is taking a (virtual) walk down memory lane to reflect on some of the great Productivity During Pandemic Presentations from this year. Connect with Spark on Twitter (@Spark_McMaster) and tune in every Friday for something we like to call #SparkResearchReplay. 

Connect with Spark on Twitter

In case you missed #SparkResearchReplay:

Better Interviews: Tips for Stronger Listening
Allison Van

Check it out here:

In case you missed #SparkResearchReplay:

Better Interview Questions
Allison Van

Check it out here:

Research guide - Qualitative Research at a Distance

This guide is a starting point for academic and non-academics to explore approaches to socially distanced but deeply engaged qualitative research methods. It aims to provide a practical foundation (in a concise and sharable format) for imaging what is possible during the current pandemic and beyond while offering suggestions for resources to learn more. 

Read the Guide

Looking to pool software licences?

Now you can! Fill out this form and we will reach out if we can match you with others looking to pool licences.

We are also attempting a pilot in fall term allowing for virtual desktop access to several licenses for major Qualitative Data Analysis software, and will be seeking volunteers to test out the viability of this option.  FSS faculty, please email if you're interested in participating.  

Research Conversations

We provide up to 4 hours of free support each year to all McMaster researchers (students, staff and faculty) on every social research topic imaginable.  If we can't help you, we'll help you find someone who can.   

Request a research consultation at

Qualtrics Licences

If you are an FSS researcher who would like to request access to Qualtrics survey software, please fill out this form:


Brighter Spark Applied Research

Spark offers custom research and evaluation, as well as highly skilled assistance in implementing virtually any social research method. Our cost-recovery services include methods and software training, custom research, state-of-the-art facilities, and taking on elements of your project to support its completion.

For a full list of Brighter Spark Applied Research's services, visit:

Help us profile your research, publications, job ads, opportunities, and upcoming events by sending them to: to be showcased in our next newsletter.

Avenue to Learn – Ask me anything

Organized by: MacPherson Institute (John Kruithof)
For: McMaster Teaching and Learning Community
September 23rd at 11-12 pm 

In this session feel free to ask us anything about Avenue to Learn. We will walk through configuration scenarios that bring you to the session.
Register here:



Interactive Session for new and returning graduate Students

Hosted by: Jeffrey Demaine (Bibliometrics and Research Impact Librarian), and Isaac Pratt (Research Data Management Specialist)
September 23rd at 11-12 pm 

Learn how to distinguish yourself from other researchers by creating an ORCiD account, good data management practices and how to organize and document your data to save time.
Register here:



In this new section, we want to celebrate the achievements of colleagues, friends, and those doing important social research with the potential to spark a brighter world.  We welcome recommendations for kudos features (including for yourself).  Please send them to:
Recent McMaster Grad, Natalie Young, is the first recipient of the Daniel G Hill Scholarship awarded to Black Students pursuing graduate studies in Sociology at McMaster. Natalie has an undergraduate degree from McMaster in Labour Studies and Sociology and will begin her M.A in Sociology this fall. Congratulations!
Read more about this award and Natalie’s research here:

Executive Director of the Master of Public Policy in Digital Society Program, Vass Bednar, writes a viewpoint in The Hub titled “The chance to lower costs is right in front of us. Will we take it?”.
Read the full article here:
MA Health and Aging Candidate successfully defends thesis:
Congratulations to Rachel Dunsmore (MA Health and Aging Candidate in the Health, Aging and Society Department), who defended her thesis successfully on August 5th.
Stephanie Ross, Associate Professor and Director, School of Labour Studies, McMaster University and Larry Savage (Brock University) explore obstacles to unionization in the article titled “The advantages of unionization are obvious, so why don’t more workers join unions.”
Read the full article in The Conversation here:

Spark: a centre for social research innovation

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