Courses for Fall 2017 and Winter 2018


This course provides an introduction to empirical research design and methods with a focus on applications in the social sciences and related fields. You will learn about core issues in research design (e.g. sampling) that transcend specific approaches, and about a variety of techniques for collecting and analyzing quantitative and qualitative data. The course will cover both abstract and practical issues related to methodology and decision making in empirical research. You will have the opportunity to develop and workshop proposals that you may wish to pursue in your senior honors thesis. By the end of the course you will be a more informed consumer and have a basic set of skills for designing and implementing your own empirical research projects. Most importantly, you will have a foundation for future learning about research design and methods.

Here is an overview of weekly topics:

  1. Ethical Research + Formulating Good Empirical Research Questions
  2. Conceptualization, Operationalization, and Measurement
  3. Sampling, in Theory and Practice
  4. Talking to People, Part 1: The Two Pillars of Survey Methodology
  5. Summarizing Data, Numerically and Graphically
  6. Getting to Know Your Linear (and Generalized Linear) Models
  7. Research Synthesis: Systematic Reviews, Meta-Analysis
  8. Talking to People, Part 2: Qualitative Interviewing
  9. Qualitative Data Analysis: Cycles of Coding
  10. Content Analysis: Quantitative, Qualitative, Computational
  11. A Brief Introduction to Social Networks Research
  12. Participatory Research, Program Evaluation + the "Brave New World" of Big / Linked / Administrative Data


There are three sets of related learning objectives in this course. First, you will be introduced to state-of-the-art scientific research on learning and cognitive adaptability, and you will begin using this research to become more intentional learners and knowledge integrators. Second, you will learn about how the mind processes information, and will begin developing new habits to facilitate clear and critical thinking in complex, messy, and stressful circumstances. Finally, you will learn how to see the social networks you are embedded in, and how they shape what you think, know, and do. You will use this knowledge to identify opportunities and develop strategies for learning , and for the integration and synthesis of different types of knowledge.

INTEG 420 A & B
Senior Research Project A & B

Each student will work on a short research project under the dual direction of a member of the department and an advisor from a discipline related to the topic. The results of this project will be presented in thesis form, and will be critically examined by members of this and, where pertinent, other departments.

"Big Data" and Social Science Research in the Digital Age

Description coming soon...

Past Courses

Research Methods & Design
Data Visualization
Disciplines and Integrative Practices
Open Science / Computational Social Science
Sociology of Science
Creativity & Innovation

I have also occasionally taught undergraduate and graduate reading courses in social network analysis, computational social science, sociology of science, organizations, and research methods. I only teach these courses under very specific circumstances.

Student Supervision

Completed PhD
Michael Clarke (dissertation committee member)

PhD in Progress
Amelia Howard (dissertation co-supervisor)
Rod Missaghian (dissertation committee member)
Noorin Manji (dissertation committee member)
Yixi Yang (dissertation committee member, supervisor Mark Stoddart at Memorial University)
Pierson Browne (dissertation committee member)

Completed MA & MSc
Junyi (Jill) Wang (reader, supervisor Derek Robinson)
Chen Chen (reader, supervisor Peter Johnson)

MA & MSc in Progress
Alexander (Sasha) Graham (thesis supervisor)
Nicholas Brandon, MD (thesis committee member, School of Public Health and Health Systems, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, supervisor Shannon Majowicz)

Undergraduate Honours Thesis
Jillian Anderson (2017)
Julia Yaroshinsky (completed 2016)
Tiffany Lin (completed 2015)
Benjamin Carr (completed 2014)
Chelsea Mills (completed 2013)
Christina Minji Chung (completed 2013)

Research Assistants

Jillian Anderson (UG)
Joel Becker (UG)
Steve McColl (UG)
Pierson Browne (PhD)
Brittney Etmanski (PhD)
Sasha Graham (MA)
Yixi Yang (PhD)

Reid McIlroy-Young (UG)
Amelia Howard (PhD)
Tiffany Lin (UG)
Evaleen Hellinga (UG)

For information about my research assistants, please see the NetLab website.

Teaching Assistants

Bronwyn McIlroy-Young (INTEG 120 -- 2014, 2016)
Samantha Afonso (INTEG 120 & INTEG 375 Research Design and Methods -- 2016)
Rebecca Little (INTEG 120 -- 2015)
Geoff Evamy-Hill (INTEG 120 -- 2013)