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Six Researchers Awarded Insight Grants

Insight Grant 2020 Project Summaries

Dr. Luis Radford, Full Professor, École des sciences de l’éducation, Faculty of Education

Grant Period: 2020-2024

Amount Awarded: $251,122

The Ethics of Mathematics Teaching-and-Learning: A Vygotskian Approach

This research program, which was ranked 6th in the Education and Social Work Competition, explores a question that has been largely overlooked in mathematics teaching and learning: the question of ethics. Ethics is a crucial component of the quality of the students’ learning. Indeed, ethics shapes the way students engage and assume (or not) responsibilities in the mathematics classroom. It also shapes the students’ relationships with others—e.g., through the various ways in which the students voice their values and mathematical understandings, and how their voices are heard or not. 

Placed within a paradigm where mathematics learning is conceived of as a classroom collective process, our objectives include (1) the identification of the ways in which teachers and students configure an ethics of that seeks to encourage the students to critically position themselves in mathematical practices; (2) the investigation of how, from such ethics, a sense of responsibility, trust, and commitment towards others emerges and evolves (or fails to emerge/evolve); and (3) the investigation of how this ethics shapes learning and the ways in which the students come to position themselves in the mathematics classroom.

The originality of this research rests on overcoming the longstanding conception of mathematics learning as a technical process of knowledge acquisition. This research will inform curriculum designers, educational policy makers, superintendents, principals, teachers, teacher candidates, and parents about ethical aspects of classroom communication and interaction that are central in the students’ mathematics learning.

Dr. Isabelle Côté, Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, Faculty of Health

Research Team:
Dominique Damant (Travail social, Université de Montréal), Simon Lapierre (Service social, Université d’Ottawa), Mylène Bigaouette (Fédération des maisons d’hébergement pour femmes), Louise Lafortune (Regroupement des maisons d’hébergement pour femmes), Lisa Goodman (Psychologie, Boston College, USA)

Grant Period: 2020-2024

Amount Awarded: $197,031

Women’s Safety-Related Empowerment in the Context of Domestic Violence : A Study of Shelter Practices

The main purpose of this project is to identify what contributes to women’s safety-related empowerment in domestic violence shelters. The study is divided into two phases. The goal of the first phase, which received prior funding from SSHRC (Côté et al., 2018-2020), was to translate and validate methodological tools to assess women’s safety-related empowerment in the context of domestic violence. The second phase, which received the current SSHRC funding (Côté et al., 2020-2024) will use the tools translated and validated in the first phase to answer the following question: What shelter practices are associated with women’s safety-related empowerment? To answer this question, the team will draw upon the principles of feminist and community-based participatory research to recruit a total of 200 women seeking shelter services. They will follow the women’s journey from shelter entry (time 1) and exit (time 2), as well as three months following the end of their shelter stay (time 3). This project will allow the team to gather evidence-based data on shelter practices which, in return, will help support shelter workers’ everyday practices. Eventually, the data will help women on their path to safety when leaving an abusive partner, and on their post-shelter journey. 

Dr. Lynne Gouliquer, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Arts

Co-investigators: Dr. Daniel Côté (Laurentian University) & Dr. Carmen Poulin (University of New Brunswick)

Grant Period: 2020-2025

Amount Awarded: $352,651

Stigmatised Identity: Giving voice to easterly Canadian Métis

Métis were recognised as one of Canada’s three Aboriginal peoples in the Constitution in 1982. Yet, it was not until 2003 that a Supreme Court’s decision (R. v. Powley) recognised that Métis had rights. Later (2016), the Supreme Court also ruled that the federal government was fundamentally responsible for Métis peoples. The guidelines from the Powley case are now used to legitimate Métis status and membership in some Métis associations. Over time, one Métis organisation—the Métis Nation—has become the more legitimised and powerful. It consists of a national council and five provincial bodies (BC, AB, SK, MB & ON). Recently, it placed its provincial Ontario body on probation because not all of its members conform to its criterion that Métis must have ancestral ties directly stemming from western Métis lineages. Currently, the Métis in Quebec, and the Atlantic provinces have smaller less legitimised associations. 

Little is known about eastern Métis because the literature, research, and public debate have been largely dominated by western Métis narratives. Our SSHRC funded study aims to understand the current realities of eastern Métis with a focus on their life stories and cultural context. Using both Indigenous (e.g., Métis Life Promotion) and non-Indigenous (i.e. Psycho-Social Ethnography of the Commonplace) methodological frameworks, the voices of eastern Métis (Ontario, Quebec, & Atlantic provinces) will be at the focus of our research. 

Some objectives are to: 1) Identify cultural, linguistic, gender/sexuality-informed understandings of identity among eastern Métis people; 2) Shed light on the influence of social-institutional relations on eastern Métis identity; 3) Examine the sociocultural and institutional strategies that influence identity resilience; and 4) Promote awareness of eastern Métis identities.

Dr. David Leadbeater, Associate Professor, Department of Economics, Faculty of Arts

Collaborator: Adrien Faudot (Grenoble Alpes University) 

Grant Duration: 2020-2022

Awarded Amount: $98,700

Amalgamation, Community Decline, and the Future of Northern Resource-Dependent Communities

This community-based project is motivated by concerns about declining employment, increasing economic disparity, and deteriorating social and cultural opportunities in many resource-dependent communities in Northern Ontario and other hinterland-colonial regions. The project focuses on Timmins which was formed as a City in 1973 through a massive amalgamation that encompassed three mining towns, Schumacher, South Porcupine, and Porcupine. The project examines how and why these once-vibrant smaller mining communities declined following amalgamation, and the clash of theories and policies about their decline, particularly the role of municipal restructuring and regional conditions in the decline. The project  will develop policy alternatives for community revitalization as well as for responding to the longer-term challenges of population decline and regional resource limits.

The project is planned to take two years. It builds on research and community engagement begun in 2015 with funding from the J.P. Bickell and Schumacher Foundations, and is supported by the Schumacher Arts, Culture and Heritage Association. The project has been working with Schumacher-born filmmaker, Lloyd Salomone, to record a series of in-depth interviews from a variety of perspectives about the evolution of Timmins and the conditions of its “East End” communities.

The project will result in a research monograph, policy papers, and issue-themed videos for community and educational use. When completed, the project research, audio-visual materials, and other documentation will be deposited to the Timmins Museum and Laurentian Archives as an accessible legacy for future community researchers, leaders, and activists.

Dr. Na Xiao, Associate Professor, Department of Marketing and Management, Faculty of Management 

Co-investigator: Dr. Olya Bullard (University of Winnipeg)

Grant Duration: 2020-2023

Awarded Amount: $99,590

The Influence of Evaluation Mode on Construal Level in Product Evaluation and Choice: A Goal-activation Perspective

This research aims to investigate the influence of evaluation mode (separate evaluation vs. joint evaluation) on choice-related goal activation and construal level. We propose that joint (vs. separate) evaluation mode activates choice-related goals that lead consumers to process information at a lower, more concrete construal level. The construal level refers to whether information is processed abstractly in higher order or concretely in lower-order terms; for example, a person may think about a cake abstractly as something delicious to eat or concretely as a mixture of sugar, flour, and other ingredients. Choice-related goals (e.g., to simplify/justify a choice) are defined as goals not directly related to the primary benefit offered by the product. When products are assessed in a separate-evaluation mode, they are evaluated primarily based on a consumption goal (i.e., the main benefit associated with product use; transportation is a consumption goal of a vehicle); when products are assessed in a joint-evaluation mode, they are evaluated based on choice-related goals (Xiao 2016; 2017; 2019 and in press). 

This investigation makes theoretical contributions to three literature. One, it contributes to the literature on the evaluation mode by identifying an important cognitive and information-processing difference between SE and JE decision makers—construal level. Two, this research contributes to construal-level theory by identifying two novel antecedents of construal—evaluation mode and choice-related goal activation. Three, this research complements goals-based choice theory by providing a conceptualization and empirical evidence that choice-related goals occupy a lower, more subordinate level in the hierarchy of goals than consumption goals do.

Dr. Lorrilee McGregor, Assistant Professor, Indigenous Health, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Laurentian University

Research Team:
Susan Manitowabi, Assistant Professor, School of Indigenous Relations, Laurentian University
Dr. Deborah McGregor, Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Environmental Justice, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University
Dr. Cindy Peltier, Associate Professor and Chair of Indigenous Education, Nipissing University
Research Assistants for summer 2020 – Natasha Daviau and Duncan Stewart

Grant Period: 2020-2023

Amount Awarded: $268,324

Indigenous Research Sovereignty and Governance: Anishinaabek Perspectives on Indigenous Knowledge, Cultural Expressions, and Intellectual Property

This study proposes to explore understandings of Indigenous knowledge, cultural expressions and intellectual property in relation to research sovereignty and research governance. This is particularly important as research activities in Indigenous communities continue to intensify. Indigenous peoples view intellectual property as belonging collectively to families, communities, nations and future generations. Indigenous intellectual traditions and property involve a unique set of considerations that necessitates drawing conceptions of Indigenous knowledge, sovereignty, and governance into the conversation. T

The goal of this study is to engage in a dialogue beyond intellectual property rights to increase understanding of researchers’ responsibilities to Elders, knowledge holders and Anishinaabek communities. An anticipated outcome of this research study is to shift the power dynamics from the external researcher to Indigenous peoples and communities who will in turn determine who has access to knowledge and how ownership of that knowledge will be retained, accessed and then utilized.