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

Spark Newsletter: July 22, 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

Jul 26, 2021

Whose Research Excites You?

Spark is currently booking speakers for our Fall 2021 weekly research series Spark Talks (Fridays from 10:30 -11:20 am).  We feature innovative social researcher exploring important questions here at Mac and around the world.  So, who should we invite?

You can: 

  1. Share your work: We would love to support you by having you and your work showcased as part of our series.  
  2. Talk about a particular method, technology or research area that you're engaging with: Let's help build community amongst those across Faculties with similar research interests.
  3. Recommend someone that inspires you: This is an easy initial engagement with Mac (and we pay stipends to external speakers)

Speakers can be anywhere in the world.  As our options for in-person meetings increase, we will make these hybrid online/offline events. 

Nominate a Speaker

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Grants

There is still time!! The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) October 2021 Insight Grant competition is now open.

Insight Grants support research excellence in the social sciences and humanities.  Research initiatives may be undertaken by an individual researcher or a team of researchers working in collaboration.  Funding is available to both emerging and established scholars for research initiatives of two to five years.

Application Process:

If you plan to apply, contact the Research Support Office within your Faculty. For those in the Faculty of Social Sciences, please contact Matt Wyman-McCarthy, by July 23, 2021.

  • Draft application for peer review due to ROADS by August 3, 2021
  • Draft application due to ROADS by September 10th, 2021 (Extended from September 7th - September 10th!)
  • Final application due to ROADS by September 24, 2021

For those applying for an Insight Grant, Spark is happy to explore with you the range of methodologies to answer your research questions. Contact us at

A Correction

In our last newsletter, the article "Re-envisioning Public Transit as Safe and Accessible for All" did not mention that the City of Hamilton has funded the CAT program throughout its history which extends to 10, not 9 years.  We apologize for the oversight. 

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:

Challenges and Opportunities in the Measurement of Global Norms
Tyler Girard

Check it out here:

In case you missed #SparkResearchReplay:

Working with an Academic Editor
Melissa 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 with another researcher?

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

Current Availability (Holders & Seekers)
-    1 Holder of Mimics (Materialise) and looking for someone to share it
-     3 Seekers for NVivo
Call for other users for NVivo - there is a cost advantage for 6+ users under Enterprise Pricing (please indicate if you are looking for Windows or Mac)

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:
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).  Send them to:

Dr. Phillipa Chong was recently awarded a SSHRC Partnership Engage Grant. Dr. PhiIlipa Chong is a cultural sociologist whose research focuses on the role of galleries in a post-pandemic world. Most importantly, how much art and culture helped people cope during quarantine: whether it be through reading, watching movies, or gaming.

Read the entire interview feature by the FSS here 

McMaster Community Research Platform and YWCA Hamilton Collaborate to Help People Experiencing Homelessness and Pregnancy.
McMaster’s Community Research Platform has partnered with the YWCA of Hamilton and the Community-University Policy Alliance (McMaster School of Social Work) to focus on integrated, low-barrier reproductive health care and pregnancy services for people experiencing homelessness in Hamilton. In addition, the Research Platform aims to bring together academic, and community partners to address critical issues within our society, convened researchers and students to work in partnership with a team from the YWCA Hamilton to organize a call-to-action forum in May.

Read the entire feature written by the FSS here
Spark: a centre for social research innovation

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