Research Assistantships and SOC 497

Spring 2024 opportunities and applications will open on February 22, 2024. Undergraduate Research Assistantships are offered through unpaid course credit via SOC 497 (Honours Research Practicum). The department does not have any paid positions at this time.

SOC 497 Honours Research Practicum

Description: Denoting a preprofessionalization experience, this course provides selected students with an opportunity to work (to a maximum of 8 hours per week over one term) as an apprentice with a specific instructor on a research project in which the instructor is currently engaged. Note: This is an unpaid position and may not be combined with sponsored research positions. Earlier or outside research involvements will not meet the criteria for this course. Also, this course cannot be used to fulfill any plan requirements, like the 400-level course requirements for the Sociology major. Rather, it is a Sociology elective only. It can however count towards the courses you need to fulfill the BA degree requirements (40 courses for Honours and 4-year general Arts, 30 courses for 3-year general Arts). This course is not repeatable; it can only be taken once.

Eligibility: You must be in level at least 3A. Preference will be given to level at least 4A Sociology and/or Legal Studies students.

Grading basis: Credit/no credit. You will be assigned a CR grade at the end of term by your supervisor upon satisfactory completion of the assigned research work.

Course requirements: You must complete up to 8 hours of research work per week with your supervisor over the course of a term. Your supervisor must be a Department of Sociology and Legal Studies faculty member.

Benefits: Completion of the course will appear on your transcript, and you can indicate completion of the course as well as research tasks completed and skills developed in your resume. This is a great opportunity for you to further develop your research skills and resume, and get to learn what real social scientific research looks like at UWaterloo!

Application instructions

Deadline: Student applications, which include the online application form and CV, must be received by Wednesday March 13, 2024 at 11:59 pm.

Instructions: Please review the SOC 497 information above (if you want to receive course credit for the undergraduate research assistantship work) and the research projects below. Afterwards, please fill out the webform and indicate your preference for the projects (first choice = highest preference). Please do not contact the supervisors regarding the status of your application. If you submitted the webform and saw a confirmation message, then we received your application. You will be notified at the start of the term if you are a successful candidate. If you have any questions, please contact the undergraduate advisor.

Outcome: Depending on the number of student applications received, faculty members will select the most qualified available candidate for their research assistant position, and not all students in the end may be able to enrol in SOC 497. You will be notified by email of whether or not you have been accepted into SOC 497 at the latest by Monday, March 25, 2024.  

Spring 2024 Research Projects

The Gendered Design of Technologies

Description: Students will assist Professor Fan in research for her scholarly book, investigating gendered design in the history of technology, as well as the historical role of the tech industry in the sociology of gendered labour.

Instructor / supervisor: Lai-Tze Fan, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Legal Studies

Research tasks

- Identify key resources and case studies on gender technologies for a book chapter, including through online database research, as well as in scholarly books and journal articles

- Create an annotated bibliography

- Conduct a literature review

- Time and resources permitted, co-write a paper manuscript

Main methodologies (training to be provided where needed): digital qualitative methods, reviewing research literature.

Work, Success, and Self-Worth across Canada's Diploma Divide

Project description:

In 2022, I conducted interviews with Toronto professionals in order to find out how they think about "work," "home," the nature of "success," and what kind of person they aspire to be (and not be).

This was phase 1 of a 2 phase project using cultural sociology to shed light on Canada's diploma divide (the growing divide between urban professionals and the rural working classes). I am looking for someone to help me conduct a literature review, transcribe interviews, and then analyse and code some preliminary interview data.

Instructor / supervisor: Galen WattsAssistant Professor, Department of Sociology and Legal Studies

Research tasks:

-Conduct a literature review

-Transcribe interviews

-Help me to analyse and code the interview data; identify and discuss salient findings

Examining Public Opinion on Immigration, State Secularism and Islamophobia in Canada

Project description:

This project involves gathering public opinion data and articles published in Canadian mainstream media between 2000-2023 on the topics of immigration, State secularism policies and Islamophobia. The goal is to examine how these public opinion data from different reputable Canadian sources have shifted over the 23-year period.

Instructor / supervisor: Sarah Wilkins-Laflamme, Associate Professor | Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies, Sociology

Research tasks:

- Web searches for public opinion data publications from reputable Canadian polling firms and mainstream media sources

- Media archive searches

- Annotated bibliography for the key sources found

- The creation of a few key graphs to show the evolution of public opinion over time on the research topics, when comparable data is available

Being able to read in French is not a requirement for this research assistant position, but it is an asset.

Covid-19 Justice as Penal Justice: Examining the Impacts of the Pandemic on Prisons in Canada and Scotland

Project description:

This project seeks to understand and improve the outcomes for people who are incarcerated by examining how the COVID-19 global emergency has impacted penal environments. I am looking for an RA to help draft a policy brief that summarizes the study findings focused on Canada and presents recommendations in the areas of professional practice and the wide range of community networks operating in and around prisons.

Instructor / supervisor: Sarah TurnbullAssistant Professor, Department of Sociology and Legal Studies

Research tasks:

- Literature review

- Reviewing excerpts from anonymized interviews

- Drafting a policy brief focused on Canadian findings

Please upload your resume in PDF or DOC format.
One file only.
2 MB limit.
Allowed types: txt, pdf, doc, docx, odt.
Please provide a rationale for applying for this undergraduate research assistantship position.
Position preferences