The work of the Centre is
explicitly guided by four purposes and principles:
advance empirical research by applying both quantitative (statistical) and
qualitative analytical techniques in fresh ways and to new or unusual data
sets, as well as by constructing datasets on topics and issues of significance
in contemporary Canadian society.
·to build a community of practice among scholars with skills and interests that pertain to empirical research. Apart from fostering the collegial sharing of information about their work, the Centre strives to provide training, mentoring, and encouragement to students along with links and information to its members that will support and strengthen their empirical research.
·to recognize the symbiosis of conceptualization and theory-building on the one hand and measurement and analysis on the other. The Centre believes that systematic observation and thoughtful measurement are essential ingredients in effective social inquiry.
·peer evaluation; all studies under the Centre’s auspices are subjected to careful peer review by qualified individuals within Carleton University and outside.
Governance and Accountability
The Centre’s Director, Dr. Paul Reed, is responsible for providing substantive oversight for the Centre’s program as well as management of its day-to-day activities. He is assisted by an Advisory Board which reviews and makes recommendations about the Centre’s operation from time to time. The Advisory Board comprises individuals whose experience and knowledge as scholars and senior executives enables them to provide sound counsel to the Centre. The Director of the Centre is an ex officio member of the Advisory Board.
As an Organized Research Unit of the university located within the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, the Centre is accountable to the chairperson of this department for administrative matters.
Membership, Organization, and Staff
At the heart of the Centre are the individuals who conduct empirical social science research. These members of the Centre may be designated as either Fellows or Research Associates. Fellows are individuals whose leadership, analytical skills and accomplishments are recognized with distinction in the social science community and who are principal investigators in one or more projects of the Centre.
Research Associates are members with noteworthy skills and interest in empirical social science research who may be principal investigators, project leaders or collaborators. They will be advanced Ph.D. students or post-doctoral scholars with recognized analytical capabilities. Research Assistants will be junior scholars at an early stage in their careers who work under the supervision of Fellows or Research Associates.
While the Centre is based in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Carleton University, membership in the Centre is not limited to members of the department nor to sociologists/anthropologists. Members are actively sought from other departments, other disciplines, and other institutions.
·Responsibilities of Research Members
Membership in the Centre entails a number of responsibilities. One is participation in a specific research project, i.e., an explicit, formal empirical research initiative with a timetable and a commitment to the dissemination of research findings through working papers, conference presentations, monographs, journal articles, and so forth. Such projects would have an affinity with one or more of the Centre’s research themes. After a member’s project has finished, she/he may continue their affiliation with the Centre, but if there is no evident involvement with the
Centre’s activities, the affiliation may not be renewed by the Director.
Members commit themselves to giving a presentation about their research activity and results at least once a year. Moreover, they make a commitment to the mentoring function of the Centre by their willingness to involve at least one student per year in their empirical research. This involvement may take the form of a course-related tutorial, a reading course, supporting ongoing utilization of project data (combined with the rendering of advice on analysis topics), and/or research assistantships (whether paying or non-paying).
Student members can be involved in the Centre’s activities in one of several ways: as research assistants, and/or by taking a tutorial or reading course related to a Centre project. Student members are encouraged to take advantage of the resources available through the Centre in order to further their understanding of empirical social science. In general, student members will be at the research assistant level.
Advantages and Benefits
The Centre’s current
advantages and assets lie in its location at Carleton University in the
nation’s capital, access to a large number of datafiles, and the research
knowledge and experience of its members. In particular, there is the Data
Liberation Initiative, extensive connections with Statistics Canada and with
other Federal Government departments, with national nongovernmental
organizations, and with other organizations.
Among the benefits of affiliation with the Centre could be:
·dissemination of research findings through the
Centre’s working paper series;
·the pooling and sharing of expertise;
·institutional support and legitimacy for individual scholars;
·administrative assistance in preparing research
and grant applications.
The synergy which often develops among particular projects
can also become an important benefit of membership in the Centre.
The development of a strong Centre for Applied Social Research brings a number of benefits to the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, to Carleton University as an institution, and to students. In addition to the obvious benefits of an active research centre (e.g., workshops, brown bag series, student employment, etc.), the ready availability of “student-friendly” projects will add an apprenticeship component to the department’s repertoire of learning experiences. The ability of students to obtain significant experience in applied social science research in the course of obtaining their degrees has considerable potential to be beneficial in their ability to find employment.