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Ontario Tech acknowledges the lands and people of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

Learn more about Indigenous Education and Cultural Services

FSSH project summaries

Supervisors
Alyson King Arshia U. Zaidi Hannah Scott Karla Dhungana Sainju Matthew Shane Sharon Lauricella

 

 

Supervisor name:  Alyson King, PhD
Project title:  Connecting with Community: Exploring programs for homelessness, precarious housing, and supported housing in rural communities

Summary of research project:  This project is intended to develop a resource that highlights the best practices being used by rural communities and programs that could be adapted by rural communities. To do so, the student will create an annotated bibliography and literature review using existing literature on how rural communities can manage and mitigate the growing crisis at the intersection between homelessness, addiction and mental health by providing housing programs (such as Housing First, supported housing). Most programs and service providers focus on one issue (i.e., homelessness or opioid addiction), but most individuals who are homeless are also living with addiction or mental illness or both.

Student responsibilities/tasks:  Using existing research, the successful student will compile an annotated bibliography and write a literature review identifying and analyzing possible paths forward for communities to be able to provide housing programs and support services suitable for rural locations.

Student qualifications required (e.g. courses completed, minimum grades, etc.):

  • Independent worker
  • Very strong organizational and writing capacity

Expected training/skills to be received by the student:

  • The student will strengthen their writing and communication skills
  • Project development
  • Organizational skills
  • May have the opportunity to learn grant writing

Award available:  Ontario Tech STAR Award


Supervisor name:  Arshia U. Zaidi, PhD
Project title:  An Era of Islamophobia: Navigating the Dynamics of Ethnic Identities, Social Exclusion and Emotional Well-being among South Asian Muslim Youth in Canada

Summary of research project:  The project aims to identify, from these youths' perspectives, how they cope with Islamophobia through behavioural change, help seeking, community engagement, or other such mechanisms and what role the university environment might play in shaping coping behaviours. With this information, we hope to address and refine issues around policies, practices, or support systems that govern these young South Asian Muslims and public spaces by suggesting pragmatic and culturally responsive interventions and suggestions to community organizations and policy makers.

Student responsibilities/tasks: 

  • Transcribing Interviews.
  • Searching articles for literature review.
  • Extracting themes from the qualitative data.
  • Assist in recruitment of grant.

Student qualifications required (e.g. courses completed, minimum grades, etc.):

  • Advanced Qualitative Data Methods.
  • Interest in research methods and data analysis.

Expected training/skills to be received by the student:

  • How to transcribe verbatim.
  • How to analyze data either manually or using NVIVO.
  • Literature Review and searching for peer reviewed articles.
  • Recruitment.
  • Able to use Google Drive.
  • Ethical considerations.

Award available:  Ontario Tech STAR Award


Supervisor name:  Hannah Scott, PhD
Project title:  Evaluation of Emergency Department (ED) visits and recidivism among drug court participants.

Summary of research project:  This project seeks to analyze data from a 2017 drug court study in order to assess whether participants from drug court are more or less likely to show up in Emergency Departments (EDs) than non-participants. This study, if there is enough time, will look at the data from these same subjects on whether they were more or less likely to show back up in the court system one year after program cessation.

Student responsibilities/tasks:  Students will be conducting literature reviews and annotated bibliographies in the area of drug court participant health needs and criminal recidivism. Students may also be asked to run descriptive analyses on existing data for descriptive and inferential trends depending on skill set. Training in all of these tasks will be provided, but strong writing skills and knowledge of SPSS will be required.

Student qualifications required (e.g. courses completed, minimum grades, etc.):

  • Candidates will need:
    • Strong writing and research skills.
    • Knowledge of SPSS.
    • At least an A- in at least one data analysis class.
  • A willingness to learn new software.
  • A natural curiosity.
  • A willingness to sign a confidentiality form.
  • A willingness to do other tasks as assigned.
  • A healthy work ethic.

Expected training/skills to be received by the student:

  • Instruction on annotated bi-bibliography generation.
  • Enhanced boolean search methods for refined library searches.
  • refresher on SPSS techniques.
  • Organization and scaffolding of report writing and literature review material.
  • Training on new software as needed.

Award available:  Ontario Tech STAR Award


Supervisor name:  Karla Dhungana Sainju, PhD
Project title:  Justice-Involved Veterans and the US Criminal Justice System

Summary of research project:  Estimates suggest that upwards of 10% of all inmates in the United States correctional facilities are military veterans, however, research on justice-involved veterans (JIV) is still limited. This study will use a rich dataset covering 16 years to examine:

  1. Key characteristics among JIVs.
  2. Recidivism rates among JIVs.
  3. Risk factors of recidivism and reoffending among JIVs.
  4. The difference between JIV’s and civilian offenders.

Understanding how military service impacts a veteran's return to civilian life and consequently, their potential criminal involvement may help us address these risks and stop the possible trajectory of going from serving in the military to going to prison.

Student responsibilities/tasks:  Students will help with conducting background research and literature reviews for the current study. It will require navigating multiple academic and non-academic databases to execute literature searches. Students will also assist with coding, cleaning and analyzing the dataset and may also be asked to help with writing up the key results and findings.

Student qualifications required (e.g. courses completed, minimum grades, etc.):

  • Completion of research methods, data analysis and qualitative analysis courses.
  • Strong computer skills (internet and database searching).
  • Attention to detail.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills will also be an asset.

Expected training/skills to be received by the student:

  • Literature searches and analysis
  • SPSS Coding
  • SPSS Analysis

Award available:  Ontario Tech STAR Award


Supervisor name:  Matthew Shane, PhD
Project title:  Better Understanding When/Why People Empathize

Summary of research project:  Is empathy something that happens automatically? Or do people choose to empathize (or not to)? If it's a choice: what influences that choice? In this online study, these questions will be examined, by evaluating participants' levels of overall empathy, and also evaluating whether different motivational scenarios influence the amount of empathy experienced. In line with previous research in the lab, hypotheses are that:

  • Some empathy is automatic; some empathy is a motivated choice.
  • People can empathize for 'virtuous' or 'nonvirtuous' reasons.

Student responsibilities/tasks: 

  • Designing the online study (with Qualtrics, etc.).
  • Collecting data from ~100 participants.
  • Undertaking preliminary analyses of the data.
  • Drafting a final report.

Student qualifications required (e.g. courses completed, minimum grades, etc.):

  • Courses completed: Research Methods; Statistics.
  • Minimum GPA: 3.70
  • Skills required: Knowledge of SPSS beneficial.

Expected training/skills to be received by the student:

  • Psychological study design
  • Data analysis
  • Theory of empathy

Award available:  Ontario Tech STAR Award or NSERC USRA


Supervisor name:  Sharon Lauricella, PhD
Project title:  Analyzing the mental health crisis on university campuses:  An examination of media

Summary of research project:  

How are university students coping with their mental health during COVID?  How well (or not) are universities supporting students?  This project considers the state of university students' mental health in context of the COVID-19 crisis. The project considers news and social media data from the post-pandemic temporal period, which will be compared to data collected before the pandemic. We seek to understand, via social media and online news, students' expressions of mental health needs and how university campuses are addressing said needs. Data will be collected from online news sources, Instagram, and Twitter with an aim to understand the student perspective of mental health support needs and how universities have, have not, and could support students.

Student responsibilities/tasks:  The student-researcher will collect social media posts from Instagram and Twitter pertaining to student mental health. The student will conduct hashtag searches, take screenshots, and compile data in a series of spreadsheets and folders. The student would be involved in preliminary analysis of the data by means of grounded theoretical coding (in conjunction with the supervisor).

Student qualifications required (e.g. courses completed, minimum grades, etc.):

  • Completion of Communication Ethics (COMM3110U).
  • Completion of Communication Theory.
  • Sound understanding of the workings of social media platforms including Twitter and Instagram.
  • Ability to take and organize screenshots.
  • Ability to use Excel.
  • Strong organizational skills.
  • Ability to ask for help when needed.

Expected training/skills to be received by the student:

  • Data collection: The student will understand organizational protocols associated with sound data collection and collection methodology; the student will be able to articulate said methodology.
  • Data organization: The student will learn how to organize data for subsequent analysis and consultation.
  • Data analysis: The student will learn how to undertake the first step(s) in the grounded theoretical coding process.

Award available:  Ontario Tech STAR Award