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Spark Newsletter: July 8, 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 11, 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

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, please contact the Research Office for Administration, Development and Support (ROADS), Christina Pellegrini, Senior Advisor, Development, at or extension 27207 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

If you are interested in discussing an idea you have for an Insight Grant, Spark is happy to explore with you the range of methodologies to answer your research questions. Contact us at

Re-envisioning Public Transit as Safe and Accessible for All

The Salvation Army, Lawson Ministries Hamilton has been helping individuals with disabilities safely take public transit for the last nine years through their Community Access to Transportation (CAT) program.  Spark's Brighter Spark Applied Research team has been thrilled to be a partner in building the next phase of CAT.  As one part of this effort, alumni, stakeholders and community partners gathered for a half day virtual session on June 18th in which they generated exciting ideas for the future of CAT.  And now the work begins on alumni peer helpers, virtual reality bus trips, a navigation app, and other innovations to make public transit safe and accessible for all.  

A huge THANK YOU to all who participated in the session and to the incredible team at Salvation Army who have inspired us with their work. If you have ideas, resources or skills that would support safe and accessible transit for all, we're eager to hear them.  Just email us at:
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. 

In case you missed #SparkResearchReplay:

Applications of Applied Social Science Research and Program Evaluation Methodologies for Decision Making in Diverse Contexts
Dr. Heather Dantzker

Check it out here

In case you missed #SparkResearchReplay:

Emerging Powers and Big Data: Domestic Transformations and Global Power Shifts
Laura Mahrenbach 

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. 

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.

NEW videos available from the Data Literacy Training Initiative

Statistics Canada

A new suite of training videos from the Data Literacy Training initiative is now available including:

Data Stewardship 101: An introduction to data standards and metadata:

Statistics 101: Proportions, ratios and rates -

Statistics 101: Correlation and causality -

Statistics 101: Exploring measures of dispersion-

Statistics 101: Exploring measures of central tendency-

Machine learning: An Introduction-

Telling the Data Story: An Introduction-
To view the full catalogue of resources, visit:

Big Data and Tech in Our Backyard Series

July 9, 2021, at 12:00 pm

Fulfillment and the Future of Work with Alec MacGillis and Kaylie Tiessen 

Organized by: TPL and McMaster University’s Master of Public Policy in Digital Society Program
Learn more and save your spot for the session 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.  
In this new section, we want to celebrate the achievements of colleagues, friends, and those we're just waiting to know that are doing important social research with the potential to spark a brighter world.  We welcome recommendations for kudos (including for yourself).  Send them to:

Dr. Ameil Joseph, a faculty member in the School of Social Work was recently awarded the Vincent Morgan Ally Award, given to friends who stand with the Canadian-African community for justice. 

Dr. Jim Dunn and the CHEC team officially launched the Canadian Housing Evidence Collaborative (CHEC) and received $1.1 million to advance housing research nationwide, addressing our housing crisis.  Learn more at

Angelo Gio Mateo, a student in the new Master of Public Policy in Digital Society program has helped lead an effort to collect and share stories of our lives during the pandemic.  Read people's stories at
Spark: a centre for social research innovation

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