Reflection on the SSHRC assignment

At first I found the SSHRC assignment to be hard but that was mainly because we had not discussed the various other forms of conducting research. I am glad that it was discussed in class how other people were having similar problems and read ahead, which was what I had to do in order to fully determine which methods I planned on using. For social science methods I prefer questionnaires and interviews, as I have some experience with them. I liked how Knight discussed how questionnaires should be used when large samples are needed to answer research questions pertaining to large groups. My research question for SSHRC focused on the Eastern European immigrant community in Ontario and their interaction with the public libraries. I want to focus on the resources and services that are made available to them in terms of collections and programs that help them preserve their culture while helping them to integrate into Canadian society.

Personally, I have some experience with conducting research through online survey for the Donald G. Ivey Library in the format of a questionnaire and processing the data collected into charts and spreadsheets. The purpose of the survey was to evaluate how well the library pertained to the needs of the students and the quantity of the data was very large. Also I thought the questionnaire exercise near the end of class was very useful. It forced us to apply the knowledge we learned through the readings and in class to determine what a good questionnaire was and how to avoid making it problematic for the person answering it.


One thought on “Reflection on the SSHRC assignment

  1. Brett Phillipson

    I also found it to be an extremely useful exercise. As I mentioned in a comment on the previous post, I actually ended up changing my topic and my approach significantly while I was writing the proposal. Initially, my subject was very broad and I honestly didn’t have anything that could be accurately characterized as a research question. Writing – and researching, though the research that I did was VERY rudimentary – allowed me to narrow my focus and come up with a more specific question. While initially I was looking at the concept of information overload in the eighteenth century, I have decided to focus on the role information overload played in the creation and reception of the Encyclopédie.

    I’ve now reached the point where I feel like my project would actually be manageable if I chose to do it, rather than being the kind of thing that would require 10 years and 800 pages to fully address. I’m not actually applying for SSHRC (since this is my second Master’s, I don’t qualify) but I’m definitely going to have to do grant proposals in the future. While I don’t have particularly high expectations for my mark on this assignment, largely because I don’t feel like I really knew what I was doing, I am looking forward to receiving feedback from Professor Cherry and applying that feedback both to our final proposal assignment, and to proposal-writing more generally over the course of my career.


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