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Data and 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.

Through the Data and Methods Lab, CERC Migration leads the advancement in new knowledge concerning migration and integration in three principal ways:

  • Training the next generation of researchers
  • Innovating in research methods
  • Connecting research insights to knowledge users

Training the next generation of researchers

Training the next generation of researchers

CERC Migration supports graduate students and emerging research scholars with research training opportunities through a variety of initiatives. 

Graduate Student Training:  Each year, CERC Migration offers six MA scholarships and six running Doctoral Scholarships and a variable number of paid part-time Research Assistantships.

Post-doctoral Training:  CERC Migration engages, at any one time, between four and eight postdoctoral and research fellows at the early stages of their careers. The CERC offers opportunities for conducting innovative research, drafting publications, blogs and policy briefs, and learning how to organize conferences and networks with both national and international distinguished scholars.

Research Training:  One-on-one mentorship with Anna Triandafyllidou, the Canada Excellence Research Chair, and with senior research associates provides graduate students with opportunities to receive advice on MA and PhD dissertations.

Exchange Fellows: The CERC Migration's Global Exchange Fellowships program supports emerging or mid-career scholars and also PhD students who wish to spend a month abroad hosted by another institution. The exchange provides scholars with a number of possible opportunities, including to undertake fieldwork, gain access to archives, liaise with other scholars in their field, present work to a university or research community, or to develop professional networks. The Fellowship functions both as an opportunity to send CERC fellows to partner institutions and also to host fellows at Ryerson.

Migration Research Gyms:  Intensive workshops provide specialized research methods and professional-development training. The small-class setting emphasizes mentorship and hands-on learning.  Workshops have been re-designed to take place online during the pandemic. 

Research Gyms run each academic year (May and October) consisting of four to five specialized workshops running each term.   Workshop topics cover:

  • Critical skills in quantitative and qualitative research methods
  • How to use data analysis software – using Nvivo and R
  • How to analyze social media data – using Netlytics and SocioViz
  • Public and policy engagement (including current topics in writing blogs, policy papers, producing dashboards and infographics)
  • GradTalks – shorter professional development workshops to support career networking and planning

View our upcoming schedule here., opens in new window

Innovating in methodologies

Innovating in methodologies

Analyzing, collecting and collating migration data has been a consistently difficult task for researchers. The interaction of social and institutional forces that lead people to move is complex. This complexity creates new opportunities for us to innovate and uncover new insights from new research methodologies and data sources.

The Data and Methods lab contributes to knowledge creation through the use of a range of innovative methologies:

  • Digital storytelling to generate new data and present research results
  • The development of new, and review of existing, digital Apps, including role-playing games to assist migrants and refugees in the process of integration
  • Collaborations using augmented reality methods to study migration and integration challenges
  • The collection and analysis of social media data using Netlytics and SocioViz
  • Working with the Canadian Research Data Center Network (CRDCN), Environics Institute and other international databases (e.g. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, World Bank)
Recent projects:

Connecting research insights to knowledge users

Connecting research insights to knowledge users

CERC Migration connects with civil society and policy makers to ensure insights uncovered through its research are available to inform policy and programs.  Conversely, our connections with stakeholders provide an opportunity to better understand lived experiences and sharpen our research focus.  We engage with stakeholders in the following ways:

  • Working with policy makers to understand their interests and to create briefings or workshops where we can share research findings and make policy and program recommendations.
  • Leading or participating in meetings and workshops with various working groups to tackle immediate and emerging issues, such as,
    • The Association of Canadian Studies’ Expert Advisory Committee COVID-19 Social Impacts Network: to discuss the impact of COVID-19 and the lockdown on the Canadian population using Leger’s survey and Statistics Canada’s Canadian Perspectives Survey Series.
    • A workshop collaboration, opens in new window with the GREASE project and the Global Centre for Pluralism to investigate the role of indicators in revealing differences and similarities among countries and their ability to inform policies for the governance of religion and to counter radicalization.
  • Research partnerships with civil society and government stakeholders to address difficult questions.
  • Tools developed to support stakeholders, such as the Immigrant Futures Toolkit, external link, opens in new window for city leaders
  • Providing advice to Statistics Canada and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada on a variety of isuses, including their data collection tools, research themes and how new data visualization tools can assist in policy development.
Recent projects:

CERC Migration undertook an open Call for Proposals to find a civil society organization that had a particular research question to be addressed. A call was issued in Spring 2020 to select a partner to investigate the use of pre- and post-arrival settlement services by newcomers to Canada, or to analyze the use of social media among newcomers upon arrival to Canada.  The project selection takes place Fall 2020, with projects complete by Spring 2021.  Learn more here

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