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

Spark Newsletter: August 5, 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

Aug 21, 2021

Making Your Work Accessible

Spark’s Communication Team is so excited to be consulting with some of McMaster's experts on accessibility as we push toward ensuring that everyone can fully engage in social research at Mac. Spark's starting point for this is ensuring all of our communications – both virtual and in-person – are AODA compliant. For those wanting to understand the accessibility of your digital content, we recommend Accessible Digital Content developed by Kate Brown and Jessica Blackwood through Pressbooks.  We found it extremely helpful and hope you will too.

Accessible Digital Content Guide

Save the Date!

Mark your calendars, Spark's first official event of the 2021-2022 term is now scheduled for September 10th at 10:30 am. Michelle Dion will be running a “Back to School” Spark Talk, featuring an overview of some tips and tricks for virtual platforms, backup services and accessing digital materials.

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!

Have you heard? 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:

Group Process Mapping by Spark Executive Director Allison Van

Check it out here:

In case you missed #SparkResearchReplay:

Black Christian Millennials: “Doing Religion” In and Outside of the Black Church by Shaonta’ Allen

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.

Back to Mac: Getting Research Ready Session

McMaster University Library
August 12th 1:00 pm - 2:15 pm

Everyone is welcome to attend this orientation session where you will connect with peers and learn how to access various resources to support your success as a student.
Learn more and register here:

Faculty of Social Sciences Introduces Social Innovation Certificate:

McMaster Undergraduates now have another opportunity to diversify their studies. Starting in the fall, the Faculty of Social Sciences will launch a concurrent certificate in Social Innovation. Students can begin registration for the Social Innovation Certificate in June 2021. 
Students with questions about the certificate can also contact the 
Office of the Associate Dean (Academic) in the Faculty of Social Sciences.  

A new interdisciplinary program in partnership with Juno College

The “Working with Code” labs for the Master of Public Policy in Digital Society Program (MPP-DS) are facilitated through a partnership with Juno College, a women-led enterprise that helps underrepresented groups gain coding skills and eventually find jobs in the field. This is the first Juno College/McMaster Graduate program collaboration, and it is very exciting! Learn more here:
Third Cohort of Graduate Wilson Leaders Announced - A big congratulations to Sarah Adjekum, a Health Aging and Society Ph.D. student who has been selected among other graduate students to join the Wilson Leaders Program starting in September.

Read more about the program, and selected students here:
Two Master of Public Policy in Digital Society Students Awarded Graduate Residency in Digital Scholarship. 
2 Students in the inaugural MPP-DS program at McMaster (Gloria Park and Angelo Mateo) were selected as part of the 2021 Graduate Residency Program on behalf of the Lewis & Ruth Sherman Centre for Digital Scholarship. Congratulations!
For more information about the scholarship and to learn more about the 21-22 Sherman Graduate Residents, please visit:
Mirna Carranza, a School of Social Work Associate Professor was Awarded an SSHRC Partnership Development Grant. Mirna’s project titled “Borderless Violence: Central American Women at home and the Diaspora in Canada” brings together academics and grassroots organizations from Central America and Canada to advance women’s rights in both regions and to promote a life free from violence. Kudos, Mirna!

Read more about this community-engaged research here:
Spark: a centre for social research innovation

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