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Spark Newsletter: March 4, 2021

Read our bi-weekly newsletter 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

Mar 13, 2021

March 4, 2021

Bi-weekly news from Spark: a centre for social research innovation at McMaster University.


Intensive 2 week course on Data Wrangling in R

Being held May 3rd-14th from 4-6 pm M-Th online, this short course will introduce students to the wonders of the tidyverse and all you need to do data cleaning, wrangling and basic descriptive statistics in R.  The short course costs $200 for McMaster-affiliated student, staff and faculty and $350 for the external public. 

Sign up here to be notified when registration opens:

Social Sciences Inter-departmental Trivia

Need a break from zoom calls, assignments and marking? The Graduate Students Association and Spark are teaming up to co-host a competitive game of team trivia on March 19th from 5-6pm. All affiliated with Social Sciences at McMaster are invited to join. 

Register here and we will set you up on a team:

March 5th  10:30am - 12pm

Relevant Research Series - making research relevant to policy and practice
Juan Velasco - Design Principles for Data Visualization, Session 1 of 2. 
Register here:

March 12th 10:30am - 12pm 

Relevant Research Series - making research relevant to policy and practice
Juan Velasco - Design Principles for Data Visualization, Session 2 of 2. 
Register here:

March 19th 10:30 – 11:20am

Productivity During Pandemic Series – Random nuggets of research insight
Spark Executive Director, Allison Van – Better Interviews III: Deliberate Choices.
Register here:

In case you missed it:

  • Listen to Sparks own Supriya Thukral discuss “Building a compelling video for knowledge mobilization” Watch it here:
  • Missed our Open House on January 25th, 2021? Many of the workshops are now available on our website under events (scroll to the bottom):


Looking to pool software licences with another researcher?

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

Qualtrics Licences

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

FSS will prioritize researchers with survey designs that do not work as well in Limesurvey. For a whirlwind tour of Qualtrics features, check out this video from our open house:

Research Conversations

If you are stuck or looking for new ideas, thoughts, or technologies for your research, reach out.  Spark exists to support your work.  We provide up to 4 hours of free support to all McMaster researchers on every topic imaginable.  

Examples of recent topics:
Online display options for ephemera
Making graphs simpler for public consumption
Which software to use for qualitative coding
Secure data storage
Ethics applications
Feeling paralyzed about moving forward

Whatever you're addressing in your research, we will work with you to work it out, or find the person who can. 

Request a research consultation at and we will set up a time to talk. 

Brighter Spark Applied Research

For researchers and community leaders, Spark offers custom research and evaluation, as well as highly skilled assistance in implementing virtually any 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. 

Examples of recent project proposals:
Data wrangling, data set linkage, and secure storage
Training research assistants for inter-rater reliability in interviews
Train a community researcher in basic survey analysis
Use our focus group and interview rooms for a study
Build a website to promote our research

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.

Upcoming seminar on March 17th 2021 at 11:30-12:30

Co-Sponsored by the HAS department, and the Gilbrea Centre for Studies in Aging
Dr. Toni Calasanti – Intersectionality, Gender, Sexual Orientation and Caregiving for Partners/Spouses in Later Life
Register here:

Upcoming seminar on March 19th, 2021 at 1:00-3:00pm

Research in Progress Seminar (RIPS)
Panel: Robbie Shilliam, Randolph B. Persaud, Takiyah Harper-Shipman and Lisa Tilley
Past and Contemporary Dimensions of Racial Capitalism: Dialectics of Freedom, Violence and Reproductive Labour
Register here:

Upcoming event on March 26th at 10 – 11:30am

Roundtable – Social Media Research Ethics – Power and Provocations
Register here:
Spark: a centre for social research innovation