A checklist for a Research Review

June 29, 2017

Connect with community, gain experience at McMaster's Research Shop

The McMaster Research Shop works with public, non-profit, and community organizations in and beyond Hamilton to provide plain-language answers to their research questions.  Teams of McMaster student Research Associates work with organizations to refine their research questions and then prepare rapid research reviews. The reviews are short plain-language reports (10-20 pages) in response to agreed-upon questions.   

Why volunteer as a Research Associate? 

  • Learn more about transferring your academic research skills by responding to a community-identified question or need.  
  • Explore possibilities for employment inside and outside the university.    
  • Make connections with Hamilton community organizations. 
  • Build your CV and portfolio by co-authoring a research report with teammates and a community partner. 
  • Learn and practice research methodologies from other academic disciplines (e.g., survey design and analysis, focus groups, community workshops, interviews, environmental scans).  
  • Work with graduate students from other departments. 
  • Earn a Certificate of Professional Learning upon project completion. 

What do Research Associates do? 

  • Work independently and as a member of a small team to produce research products according to set deadlines. 
  • Attend weekly team meetings and schedule meetings with community organizations, as appropriate. 
  • Commit an average of 5 hours per week for three to four months. 

Who is eligible to volunteer?

  • Completed Bachelor’s degree. (Both alumni and current McMaster graduate students are welcome!) 
  • Strong research skills, including: the ability to locate and evaluate secondary sources and synthesize complex information, and excellent data management skills. 
  • Strong professional skills, including: working independently and meeting deadlines, good email management, and effective meeting skills. 
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, including the ability to ask questions and incorporate critical feedback. 
  • Excellent academic and professional writing skills. 
  • Awareness of ethical and practical complexities associated with working with agencies or communities outside the university and/or a desire to learn more about principled community-engagement.  

The Research Shop is also recruiting Team Leads to coordinate small teams of Research Associates.

Team Lead responsibilities include:

  • Scheduling and chairing regular team meetings and being available for research team support between meetings by email/phone/Skype.
  • Developing and managing project work plans (in consultation with the team).
  • Offering feedback on Associate research strategies, written work, and engagements with the community.
  • Acting as the lead author and editor of a final deliverable.
  • Communicating regular updates to the Research Coordinator and consulting with the Coordinator for feedback and support as needed.  

How to apply to be a Research Associate or Team Lead

To apply for these volunteer opportunities, please send a resume and up to one page expressing your interest to Sheila Cranmer-Byng, Research Shop Coordinator, rshop@mcmaster.ca. In your expression of interest, please indicate your academic background, personal strengths, and what you hope to gain from the experience. Inquiry emails are also welcome.  

Application Deadline: Friday, July 14, 2017

Research Associates and Team Leads will join projects running from July-October 2017 and/or September-December 2017. Volunteers with a more long-term interest and commitment (six months to a year), and those interested in gaining skills to become a future Lead for a team are especially encouraged to apply.

What are the project topics?

2017-2018 projects have not been confirmed, but are broadly taking up the following community issues:

  • innovative business opportunities for newcomers and youth
  • economics of neighbourhood BIAs
  • ageism in the workforce
  • evaluation of supports for caregivers of people with dementia
  • education programs for people with disabilities around sexual health and sexual violence
  • educational experiences of Black children and youth
  • municipal policies and affordable studio spaces for artists
  • affordable housing and inclusionary zoning
  • community responses to poverty and poverty reduction
  • community gardens and neighbourhood engagement