Research Projects

[ACTIVE] Hate 2.0: Combating the Radical Right in the Age of Social Technology (Co-Investigator) – Funder: SSHRC, Insight Development Grant (2011-13)

This project examines the impact of digital media in the debate over the rise of radical right-wing groups in Western Europe and Canada. We are interested not only in how Twitter, Facebook and other social technologies provide new opportunities for promoting anti-semitic and fascist beliefs, but also in how governments and civil society organizations monitor these groups in the social mediascape, and what strategies they have developed for organizing opposition online.

Emergency-Risk Communication for Vulnerable Populations in Canada (Primary Investigator) – Funder: Public Health Agency of Canada (2012)

The primary objective of this research is to identify best practices and establish innovative future strategies for effective emergency-risk communication (ERC) with vulnerable populations.  Special attention is being paid to exploring the opportunities and risks that recent changes in media technology (e.g. social networking and mobile media) may provide for improving ERC efforts with new Canadians and people who are homeless.

 

Smog & Mirrors: PR and the Climate Change Debate in Canada (Primary Investigator) – Funder: SSHRC, Standard Research Grant (2009-10)

This project is examining the changing dynamics of contemporary environmental policymaking with a focus on public relations campaigns undertaken by environmental NGOs and activist groups — special attention is paid to their traditional media outreach and new media strategies and activities. It also looks at the role of PR practitioners and the communications consultancy sector to understand how rising ecological awareness in the political arena, the corporate sector and civil society are transforming PR and being transformed by it.

Framing Homelessness and Social Housing in Canada: A Comparative Analysis of 4 Cities (Primary Investigator) – Funder: CIHR, Interdisciplinary Capacity Enhancement grant, Research Alliance for Canadian Homelessness, Housing and Health (2009-10)

This project involves a longitudinal, comparative analysis of media coverage about homelessness, housing and health across 4 Canadian cities (Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa, Toronto). The study examines how the problem of homelessness is defined, who/what are identified as blameworthy agents and the range of possible solutions presented. The research seeks to inform the communication activities and media strategies of groups advocating for a more progressive policy framework that includes a national housing strategy.

Health Crises and Emergency Communication  (Primary Investigator) – Funder: SSHRC Institutional Grant (2009-10)

This project focuses upon how the public health community prepares for and responds to crises and emergencies, from outbreaks of food-borne illness (e.g. Listeriosis, E Coli, etc.) to pandemic influenza, industrial accidents and terrorist attacks. Special emphasis is paid to how public health professionals build communicative capacity, consult with the public and develop communication campaigns for and with community partners.

From Homeless to Home (co-investigator) – Funder: SSHRC Public Dissemination Grant (2007-08)

This project was a community-university research alliance involving a multidisciplinary team of scholars and community organizations. Funding was provided in order to develop a series of public communication tools that would promote the results of the Panel Study on Homelessness, a longitudinal research project that explored the pathways into and out of homelessness among several hundred individuals in Ottawa. Overall we sought to widen the audience base for traditional academic scholarship to include not just university researchers and policy makers in the housing and homelessness sector, but a wider constituency of policy actors, citizens and other stakeholders. The range of tools produced included: a documentary film, a 2-part radio series, a pamphlet/brochure, and a series of video-recorded interviews with people who are homeless or have experienced homelessness. All of these products are available on the website of our community partner, The Alliance to End Homelessness. My responsibilities for the project included developing a concept for the film and radio series, including hiring and working closely with the filmmaker and reporter, hiring and overseeing the work of several research assistants, and of contributing equally with other team members to all final copy editing and presentations of materials.

Surveillance and Social Problems in Canada (co-investigator) – Funder: SSHRC Standard Research Grant (2005-08)

This project examined the growth of public area video surveillance in Canada. My role in the study was to oversee the research into media framing of video surveillance across 10 Canadian cities over a period of almost 10 years. The research aimed to tell the story of how video surveillance arrived to Canada and what factors contributed to its spreading across regions, and to map the policy dynamics and relationships among police, community organizations, government, business, media and other stakeholders.

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