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Data & Methods Lab

The CERC Migration’s Data and Methods Lab gathers and generates quantitative and qualitative data that map the new realities of global migration and address important policy questions. The Lab also contributes to the field of migration through training initiatives and through partnerships with civil society organizations to address critical research questions.

Innovating in methodologies

Maggie tracker launch

Digital tools to aid research

CERC Migration has developed a number of tools to help researchers gain a thorough view of the migration landscape. Through tools that simplify complex data or provide a visualization of the story behind the data, these research aids will give researchers new perspectives on the underlying trends in migration.

Migration Tech Tracker – an interactive tool developed to summarize the various technologies used by the diverse range of actors in migration management across the globe.

COVID-19 Immigration Policy Tracker (external link)  – a tool to help analysts evaluate the complex, and often ad hoc, period of policymaking in Canada.

Sino-African Migration Alternative Data Hub (external link) a searchable database repository that captures difficult-to-find records on the impact of China’s evolving approach to immigration and migrant status.

Finding Canada (external link)  - a scrollytelling visualization presents research on how potential migrants find out about Canada.

Image of people walking on a street on the left blending into an image of a person's hand writing in a notebook with a pen

Creative works

Art and creative practice often intersect with conventional research. CERC Migration regularly explores new forms of media, such as literature and performance, as methods of inquiry into the experience of migration.

Current research:

StOries: Strangers to oursevles

Stories of impact: Migration journeys of refugee women from Syria, Afghanistan and Ukraine

Man in front of a large body of water, profile shot of a woman with a headband on, profile of a women outside in front of a mural saying Yellowknife, woman sitting inside with a photo of her family to the left

Digital storytelling

Digital storytelling provides a window into real-life experiences and reflections of the subjects under examination, and creates new opportunities for research and communicating research results.

CERC Migration partners with film and documentary makers and other artistic creators to produce digital storytelling works that uncover insights that will lead to a better understanding of the migrant experience and where policy could improve outcomes. 

Current research:

I AM: Digital Storytelling Research project

Interactive dashboard to assess COVID-19 impact on immigrant workers

MIGRANT LIVES IN PANDEMIC TIMES: A collection of personal stories and the policy change they inspire (external link) 

Visualization: Social media use by newcomers (external link) 

Under the Tent: A creative exploration of diversity, race and multiculturalism (external link, opens in new window) 

Person holding up a cellular device and playing on an app

Digital apps

Digital technologies are both a tool to aid migrants in their integration experience and an opportunity for researchers to sharpen their understanding of the migrant’s on-the-ground experience. CERC Migration researchers are involved in the development of new, and the review of existing, digital Apps, including role-playing games and interactive dashboards to represent data.

Current research: 

WORKEEN Serious Game App

Woman typing on a laptop

Quantitative research using the IMDB database

The Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB) from Statistics Canada now includes Settlement Services modules, linking service provider-level and individual data for a range of immigrant categories and stages of integration. CERC Migration is analyzing the settlement experience and integration challenges of newcomers, following their pathway from temporary to permanent resident, and looking closely at the outcomes of pre-landing experience. Using regression and multinomial logistic analysis, we will add new knowledge regarding the social and economic integration of permanent residents who entered Canada as temporary migrants.

Current research and related work: 

Transitions: The impact of pre-landing experience and settlement services on employment outcomes for immigrants

 (PDF file) Roundtable Debrief – Improving our understanding of temporary migrants in Canada

Twitter, Reddit and Facebook icons on a monitor

Social media as a research method

Social media as a tool to study online diasporas, migration and integration patterns has become integral to understanding how migrant communities share information and communicate with each other and family in the home country. CERC Migration uses Netlytic, Communalytic and Academic Track Twitter API to collect and analyze social media data from a host of platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Reddit. Our data is uncovering new insights into how newcomers navigate the Canadian immigration system and labour market and integrate into society generally.

Current research:

LEARNING IN THE WILD: Migrant user communities on Reddit

Social media and labour market integration in Canada (SOMELAB)

Virtual Bridge: Delivering settlement services through social media

Training the next generation of researchers in methods

Migration Research Gyms

Intensive workshops provide specialized research methods and professional-development training. The small-class setting emphasizes mentorship and hands-on learning. Workshops cover methodologies in qualitative interviews, social media use, tools in public engagement, and more)

Find out about upcoming Migration Research Gyms.

Two students working over a laptop

Graduate student mentorship

CERC Migration supports a select number of graduate students with stipends to support their full-time Master's and PhD program. Students are integrated into a vibrant research team to gain a comprehensive scientific and professional development experience, and receive one-on-one mentorship.

Learn more about opportunities for graduate students.


Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

CERC Migration researchers contribute to and instruct MOOCs. Learn about a vareity of migration and integration themes in these self-paced, free online course.

Governing Diverse Cities in Europe and Asia: MOOC available on edX

For a complete overview of CERC Migration research projects currently underway, please follow the link to our Project Briefs.