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Data & Methods Lab

The CERC Migration’s Data and Methods Lab gathers and generates quantitative and qualitative data that map the new realities of global migration and address important policy questions. The Lab also contributes to the field of migration through training initiatives and through partnerships with civil society organizations to address critical research questions.

Innovating in methodologies

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Social media as a research method

Social media as a tool to study online diasporas, migration and integration patterns has become integral to understanding how migrant communities share information and communicate with each other and family in the home country. CERC Migration uses Netlytic, Communalytic and Academic Track Twitter API to collect and analyze social media data from a host of platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Reddit. Our data is uncovering new insights into how newcomers navigate the Canadian immigration system and labour market and integrate into society generally.

Current research:
LEARNING IN THE WILD: Migrant user communities on Reddit
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Digital storytelling

Digital storytelling provides a window into real-life experiences and reflections of the subjects under examination, and create new opportunities for research and communicating research results.

CERC Migration partners with film and documentary makers to produce digital storytelling works that uncover insights that will lead to a better understanding of the migrant experience and where policy could improve outcomes. 

Current research:
I AM: Digital Storytelling Research project
Interactive dashboard to assess COVID-19 impact on immigrant workers
 
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Digital apps

Digital technologies are both a tool to aid migrants in their integration experience and an opportunity for researchers to sharpen their understanding of the migrant’s on-the-ground experience. CERC Migration researchers are involved in the development of new, and the review of existing, digital Apps, including role-playing games and interactive dashboards to represent data.

Current research: 
WORKEEN Serious Game App
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New opportunities in quantitative research using the IMBD database

The Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB) from Statistics Canada now includes Settlement Services modules, linking service provider-level and individual data for a range of immigrant categories and stages of integration. CERC Migration is analyzing the settlement experience and integration challenges of newcomers, following their pathway from temporary to permanent resident, and looking closely at the outcomes of pre-landing experience. Using regression and multinomial logistic analysis, we will add new knowledge regarding the social and economic integration of permanent residents who entered Canada as temporary migrants.

Current research and related work: 
Transitions: The impact of pre-landing experience and settlement services on employment outcomes for immigrants
PDF fileRoundtable Debrief – Improving our understanding of temporary migrants in Canada
 
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Mixed method research

CERC Migration research projects often takes a mixed method approach, drawing on a range of methodologies, including social media data, surveys and qualitative methods. Along with implanting data triangulation, the research takes a reflexive approach to address the politics of data production and analysis by identifying the data gaps and limitations.

Our work often includes collaborations. For example, we work with service providers to identify research questions and generate new data. A collaboration with the Environics Institute is analyzing public attitude data to better understand Canadians’ perception towards migrants during the pandemic. 

Current research:
Saskatchewan attraction and retention of immigrants (SARI)
Social media and labour market integration in Canada
Exploring Canada’s changing public attitudes towards immigration (IMMIGRATEFUL)

Training the next generation of researchers in methods

Migration Research Gyms

Intensive workshops provide specialized research methods and professional-development training. The small-class setting emphasizes mentorship and hands-on learning. Workshops cover methodologies in qualitative interviews, social media use, tools in public engagement, and more)

Find out about upcoming Migration Research Gyms.
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Graduate student mentorship

CERC Migration supports a select number of graduate students with stipends to support their full-time Master's and PhD program. Students are integrated into a vibrant research team to gain a comprehensive scientific and professional development experience, and receive one-on-one mentorship.

Learn more about opportunities for graduate students.