About the SSRL

The Social Sciences Research Laboratories (SSRL) is a unique and leading network of eight research laboratories made possible by the combined support of the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Government of Saskatchewan, and the University of Saskatchewan, including many of its colleges, schools and administrative units. As a research support unit, the SSRL assists faculty, staff and students undertaking research in the social sciences by providing access to specialized research infrastructure (computers, equipment and software) and research space (specific and multi-purpose), and providing access to research supports in the form of specialists with backgrounds and training in specific social science research methodologies (quantitative and survey research; qualitative research; experimental research; GIS and cartography; social network analysis; among many others).

Our mission:
To provide shared research infrastructure and technical and administrative support to faculty, staff and students at the University of Saskatchewan and beyond, to facilitate the design, delivery and dissemination of cutting-edge social science research.

The SSRL currently consists of the following laboratories:

The SSRL has three objectives:

  • To provide researchers access to shared research infrastructure and technical and administrative support.
  • To enable hands-on research training opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students in the social sciences.
  • To enable and support investigator-driven and community-engaged research.

To learn more about the SSRL, please contact us:

Social Sciences Research Laboratories (SSRL)
University of Saskatchewan
Room 260  Arts Building  9 Campus Drive
Saskatoon SK  Canada  S7N 5A5

Telephone: (306) 966-8409  Facsimile: (306) 966-8819
Email: ssrl@usask.ca  Website: https://ssrl.usask.ca

Director's Message

2016-2017 marked the five-year anniversary of the SSRL. With five years of operations behind us, it provided an appropriate opportunity to reflect on what we have accomplished in a relatively short period of time, while looking ahead to new possibilities and ventures. As the environment around us continues to shift and adjust to changing priorities and fiscal realities, I am happy to say the SSRL has continued to grow and flourish. Much of our strategy has focused on not only increasing engagement with our various partners and stakeholders, but intensifying that engagement in a way that benefits and advances the needs and interests of our researchers, students and collaborators. With this in mind, we have appropriately chosen the theme 'Intensifying Engagement' for our 2016-2017 annual report.

In recognition of this being the fifth iteration of our annual report, and to ensure its accessibility and currency, we have moved from a traditional PDF report to this new web-based format. We hope you enjoy the new format!

Exemplifying our success in intensifying engagement, the SSRL continued to grow the number of research studies supported by our unit, increasing from 208 research studies in 2015-2016 to 299 research studies in 2016-2017 - an increase of 44%! The 299 research studies in 2016-2017 involved 486 researchers from the University of Saskatchewan and beyond (up 35% from 361 researchers in 2015-2016), and engaged 753 undergraduate and graduate students as student employees or student research assistants (up 18% from 638 students in 2015-2016). SSRL-supported research studies also yielded 181 research outputs in 2016-2017 – an increase from the 153 research outputs produced by our researchers in 2015-2016. These research outputs were highlighted by 32 peer-reviewed journal articles, eight books, three book chapters, and 99 conference papers/abstracts/presentations (invited and uninvited). SSRL-supported research also resulted in 12 graduate theses, nine technical reports, nine media articles, seven websites, one non-refereed journal article, and one review article.

We further intensified engagement in 2016-2017 with our partners and stakeholders through our rethink research: University of Saskatchewan Research Intensification Series (October 5 - 6, 2016). We were delighted and honoured to have seven internationally-recognized speakers join us for the event, providing lectures and workshops in their areas of expertise. Videos of the lectures are now available on our newly-launched SSRL YouTube Channel. We have deliberately and strategically applied the rethink research branding to our SSRL Research Methods Summer Institute, with the most recent offering of our ever-popular institute having occurred May 1 - 12, 2017. Videos from many of the workshops offered as part of the Summer Institute are also available on our SSRL YouTube Channel.

We intensified engagement with several national and international partners in 2016-2017, most notably through our work on the development and instruction at a Summer Institute on Social Justice: Practice and Research with partners from the University of Saskatchewan and the Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar. We continued to provide mentorship and support to our friends and colleagues at the University of Lagos on the development of their own SSRL, and I am pleased to say they officially opened their SSRL in April 2017, one of many similar units that we anticipate being established internationally over time. We also worked closely with our friends and colleagues at the University of Lagos on the development of a Summer Institute program that we hope to establish and support in 2017-2018.

The SSRL supported intensified engagement of our research community through the continued development and opening of our Community-Based Observation Laboratory (COL). With the establishment of the COL as the eighth lab within the SSRL, we are appropriately positioned to support researchers from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines who wish to do observational research.

Finally, to better support our efforts to intensify engagement, the SSRL made a considerable change to our governance structure in 2016-2017. We disestablished the SSRL Operations Committee and replaced it with a newly-established SSRL Strategic Priorities Committee. We would like to thank outgoing members of the SSRL Operations Committee, and look forward to our important work with new members of the SSRL Strategic Priorities Committee to identify and develop new areas of research programming and training support that align with unit priorities. We would also like to thank outgoing SSRL Management Committee member, Dr. Keith Willoughby for his many years of service and commitment to the SSRL Management Committee, and most recently, his role as chair of that committee. Thank you Keith and best of luck in what lies ahead!

Jason Disano

Activities, Outcomes and Impacts

The table below provides quantitative-based visualizations of the many activities, outcomes and impacts of the SSRL in 2016-2017, along with comparisons to previous years where relevant and available. Data are available for the following indicators:

  • Numbers of research studies (both active and completed) supported by the SSRL in each year.
  • Numbers of research studies supported by each SSRL laboratory in each year, along with multiple-laboratory collaborations in 2016-2017.
  • Numbers of researchers supported by the SSRL by college/school or institution of origin in each year.
  • Numbers of students trained or employed by the SSRL in each year.
  • Numbers of research outputs produced by SSRL-supported researchers in each year.
  • A network analysis of SSRL collaborations by laboratory in 2016-2017.

INSTRUCTIONS: To view or interact with these data, simply choose the desired indicator from the column on the left-hand side of the table. Clicking on the desired indicator will display the available data. Hovering your cursor over any data visual will display the value(s) associated with that particular data point. 

Governance and Operations


To provide strategic direction and support, and to ensure the ongoing operations and maintenance of the SSRL, a formal governance structure has been instituted by the University of Saskatchewan.

SSRL Management Committee

The SSRL Management Committee provides financial and administrative direction to the SSRL and ensures SSRL operations address university, college/school and unit priorities. Members advocate for the SSRL within the university and the broader community and review the ongoing operations and activities of the SSRL.

Membership (as of April 30, 2017):

    • Keith Willoughby, Interim Dean, Edwards School of Business (Chair)
    • David Burgess, Associate Dean Research, Graduate Support and International, College of Education
    • Jason Disano, Director, Social Sciences Research Laboratories (ex officio)
    • Jack Gray, Vice-Dean Research, Scholarly and Artistic Work, College of Arts and Science
    • Nancy Gyurcsik, Professor, College of Kinesiology
    • Heather Heavin, Associate Dean Research and Graduate Studies, College of Law
    • Jason Hlady, Manager Research Computing, Information and Communications Technology
    • Jill Hobbs, Professor, College of Agriculture and Bioresources
    • Justin Longo, Assistant Professor, Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy
    • Philip Loring, Assistant Professor, School of Environment and Sustainability
    • Darrell McLaughlin, Associate Dean, St. Thomas More College
    • Petros Papagerakis, Associate Dean Research, College of Dentistry
    • Marek Radomski, Vice-Dean Research, College of Medicine
    • Kevin Schneider, Associate Vice-President Research (Interim), Office of the Vice-President Research
    • Martha Smith-Norris, Acting Associate Dean, College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
    • Elisabeth Snead, Acting Associate Dean Research, Western College of Veterinary Medicine
    • Michael Szafron, Assistant Professor, School of Public Health
    • Matt White, IT Manager, Information and Communications Technology
    • Virginia Wilson, Director, Centre for Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, University Library
    • Phil Woods, Associate Dean Research, Innovation and Global Initiatives, College of Nursing

SSRL Strategic Priorities Committee

The SSRL Strategic Priorities Committee provides strategic direction to SSRL operations, advising on areas of opportunity and potential growth that align with the SSRL’s mission of research support and capacity building. The SSRL Strategic Priorities Committee helps to identify and develop innovative research programming and training opportunities that align with college/school and institutional priorities.

Membership (as of April 30, 2017):


Day-to-day operations and administration of the SSRL are handled by a team of professional support staff.
(Staff names and positions are listed as of April 30, 2017.)

General Operations and Administration
Jason Disano, Director
Gloria Silbernagel, Finance and Administrative Assistant

Community-Based Observation Laboratory (COL) / Video Therapy Analysis Laboratory (ViTAL)
Marla Rogers, Mixed Methods Research Manager and Specialist

Experimental Decision Laboratory (EDL) / EEG Hyperscanning Laboratory (EHL)
Brianna Groot, Experimental Research Manager and Specialist

Qualitative Research Laboratory (QRL)
Rachel Tang, Qualitative Research Manager and Specialist
Reché Epp, Assistant Qualitative Research Manager

Spatial Analysis For Innovation in Health Research Laboratory (SAFIHR)
Weiping (Winston) Zeng, GIS Research Manager and Specialist

Survey and Group Analysis Laboratory (SGAL)
Jessica McCutcheon, Survey Research Manager and Specialist
Cara Baldwin, Assistant Survey Research Manager
Reché Epp, Assistant Survey Research Manager
Alexander Popoff, Assistant Survey Research Manager

Social Network Laboratory (SNL)
Ana-Maria Bogdan, Quantitative Research Manager and Specialist