About the SSRL

The Social Sciences Research Laboratories (SSRL) is a unique and leading network of 10 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 unitsAs a research support unit, the SSRL assists faculty, staff, students and community-based organizations 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 research; qualitative research; mixed methods research; survey research; experimental research; GIS and cartography; social network analysis; computational research; 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 consists of the following laboratories:

The SSRL has three objectives:

  1. To provide researchers access to shared research infrastructure and technical and administrative support.
  2. To enable hands-on research training opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students in the social sciences.
  3. 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

Cultivating connections, it is a common thread throughout everything we do at the SSRL. It applies to our collaborative spirit; bridging, facilitating and enhancing new and existing networks with our growing research community. It also applies to our partners and our stakeholders who play an important role in advancing our interests, and increasing the reputation and reach of the SSRL. Lastly, it applies to the connections between and among our staff and our governing bodies, and the increasingly complex and sophisticated research that we support through our ever-expanding research methods toolbox that bridges methodological and disciplinary boundaries. Cultivating connections, collaboratively chosen by SSRL staff as the overarching theme for our 2018-2019 annual report, serves to demonstrate our ongoing commitment to supporting cutting-edge research at the University of Saskatchewan and beyond. (It also serves as an example of one of the many tools supported by the SSRL in our methodological arsenal, namely social network analysis).

As a unit, we demonstrated considerable success in cultivating connections with our research community in 2018-2019 through continued sustained growth in the number of research studies and researchers supported by our unit, in addition to increases in the numbers of students engaged in those research studies and research outputs produced. The number of unique research studies supported by the SSRL increased from 339 research studies in 2017-2018 to 346 research studies in 2018-2019. The 346 SSRL-supported research studies in 2018-2019 included 244 that were completed during the fiscal year and another 102 research studies that were active and ongoing at the end of the year. The 346 research studies involved 547 researchers from the University of Saskatchewan and beyond (which increased from 521 researchers in 2017-2018), and engaged 834 undergraduate and graduate students as student employees or student research assistants (compared to 706 students in 2017-2018). SSRL-supported research studies also yielded 299 research outputs produced by our researchers in 2018-2019 (which increased from 262 research outputs in 2017-2018). These research outputs were highlighted by 69 peer-reviewed journal articles, four book chapters, one book and 154 conference papers/abstracts/presentations (invited and uninvited). SSRL-supported research also resulted in 31 media articles, 12 theses, 12 technical reports, nine websites, five review articles and two non-refereed journal articles.

We cultivated connections in 2018-2019 through our continued focus on external relations activities and partnership building. The SSRL entered into a formal partnership with CBC Saskatchewan to provide ongoing quarterly public opinion survey data for use across their various media platforms. A number of stories were developed by the CBC throughout the year in relation to this partnership, which included stories on such topics as support for the Catholic school system, the importance of religious beliefs, and U.S. President Donald Trump. This successful media partnership builds on the SSRL's already established partnership with Postmedia News Saskatchewan (Saskatoon StarPhoenix and Regina Leader-Post) through Taking the Pulse of Saskatchewan. These mutually-beneficial media-focused partnerships provide the SSRL with considerable exposure as a source of reliable, robust data to drive public discourse on a variety of local, provincial and national issues.

On the topic of partnerships, the SSRL continued to strengthen our partnership with the Saskatchewan Centre for Patient-Oriented Research (SCPOR) in 2018-2019, further establishing ourselves as an important partner and facilitator of patient-oriented research in the province. As a SCPOR partner, the SSRL provided direct support for 119 patient-oriented research studies, and engaged 209 undergraduate students and 19 graduate students in patient-oriented research. Further, our partnership with SCPOR has allowed us to strategically and deliberately expand the breadth and scope of research support services provided to our research community. We look forward to continuing this important work with SCPOR over the months and years ahead. Also in 2018-2019, the SSRL began discussions with the Canadian Centre for the Study of Co-operatives to explore mutually-beneficial partnership opportunities that would provide extended benefits to the Centre's funders. We also entered into a partnership with the Canadian Statistical Sciences Institute (CANSSI) Health Sciences Collaborating Centre at the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Regina to provide work placement opportunities for students where intermediate and advanced statistical expertise and assistance are required. Throughout the year, we either established or maintained connections with numerous partners and stakeholders within and outside of academia, including faculty and staff at Dalhousie University, the Institute for Social Research at York University, the University of Lagos, and the Canada Foundation for Innovation, among many others.

We further cultivated connections with our research community through expanded and enhanced SSRL research support infrastructure and research support capacity. In 2018-2019, the SSRL launched two news laboratories, including our Mixed Methods Research Laboratory (MMRL) and our Computational Research Laboratory (CRL). Establishment of the MMRL has allowed the SSRL to better support research that integrates qualitative and quantitative components, while the CRL has provided the SSRL with much-needed capacity to assist researchers with usability testing, custom software development and human-computer interaction experiments, among other computer-related application supports. The establishment of the CRL is a prime example of how the SSRL has cultivated connections with our partners and stakeholders, with the University Library committing to providing space in the Murray Library to house the CRL next year. Co-locating the CRL adjacent to the Digital Research Centre (DRC) in the Murray Library will also help cultivate connections through the support of similar audiences and disciplines, and through the sharing of information, resources and complementary research support capacity.

The SSRL cultivated connections through enhanced training and capacity-building in 2018-2019 through our always popular rethink research: SSRL Research Methods Summer Institute, offered May 7 to 11, 2018. Fifteen hands-on, immersive workshops were offered with the aim of providing participants with practical, usable knowledge and skills in the social research methods. Workshops covered such topics as quantitative analysis and SPSS, collecting and analyzing qualitative data, an introduction to experimental methods, basic statistics using R, social network analysis, and using triangulation to improve credibility and validity, among others. The annual SSRL Summer Institute has now grown to become one of the largest social research methods-focused training institutes in Canada. Videos from many of the workshops offered as part of the 2018 Summer Institute are available on our SSRL YouTube Channel.

We also cultivated international connections in 2018-2019 through our recently-established partnership with the University of Transilvania Brasov and Iceberg Consulting, both located in Brasov, Romania. Through this partnership, we will co-lead a Social Sciences Research Methods Summer School (August 26 to September 5, 2019), with SSRL staff providing instructional support for 17 unique summer school workshops.

Finally, we cultivated and strengthened our connections with the academic and teaching mission of the university through continued support for undergraduate and graduate student-led research through our continued offering of the SOSC 330 Social Sciences Research Internship Course and development of a new SOC 398 course, Mixed Methods Research for the Social Sciences.

Jason Disano

Activities, Outcomes and Impacts

The application below provides visualizations of the many activities, outcomes and impacts of the SSRL in 2018-2019, along with comparisons to previous years where relevant and available. Data are available for the following indicators:

  • # of Studies: Numbers of research studies (active and completed) supported by the SSRL in each year.
  • Collaborations: Numbers of research studies supported by each SSRL laboratory in each year, along with multiple laboratory collaborations in 2018-2019.
  • Researcher Involvement: Numbers of researchers supported by the SSRL by college/school/unit or institution of origin in each year.
  • Student Engagement: Numbers of students trained or employed by the SSRL in each year.
  • Research Outputs: Numbers of research outputs produced by SSRL-supported researchers in each year.
  • Collaboration Map: Maps depicting the geographic location of SSRL-supported researchers in each year.
  • Network Analysis: Network visualizations of SSRL collaborations by laboratory in each year.

INSTRUCTIONS: To view or interact with these data, simply choose the desired indicator from the column on the left-hand side of the application. Clicking on the desired indicator will display the available data. Hovering your cursor over any data visual may 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, 2019):

    • Michael Szafron, Associate Professor, School of Public Health (Chair)
    • Jane Alcorn, Associate Dean Research and Graduate Affairs, College of Pharmacy and Nutrition
    • David Burgess, Associate Dean Research, Graduate Support and International Initiatives, College of Education
    • Erica Carleton, Assistant Professor, Edwards School of Business
    • 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
    • Tammy Marche, Associate Dean, St. Thomas More College
    • Dena McMartin, Assistant Vice-President Research, Office of the Vice-President Research
    • Petros Papagerakis, Associate Dean Research, College of Dentistry
    • Marek Radomski, Vice-Dean Research, College of Medicine
    • Martha Smith, Acting Associate Dean, College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
    • Elisabeth Snead, Associate Dean Research and Graduate Studies, Western College of Veterinary Medicine
    • Graham Strickert, Assistant Professor, School of Environment and Sustainability
    • Virginia Wilson, Associate Librarian, 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, 2019):

    • Jason Disano, Director, Social Sciences Research Laboratories (Chair)
    • Harley Dickinson, Professor, College of Arts and Science
    • Jack Gray, Vice-Dean Research, Scholarly and Artistic Work, College of Arts and Science
    • Brianna Groot, Experimental Research Manager and Specialist, Social Sciences Research Laboratories
    • Janeen Loehr, Assistant Professor, College of Arts and Science
    • Laureen McIntyre, Associate Professor, College of Education
    • Nazeem Muhajarine, Professor, College of Medicine
    • Stuart Smyth, Associate Professor, College of Agriculture and Bioresources
    • Weiping (Winston) Zeng, GIS Research Manager and Specialist, Social Sciences Research Laboratories


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, 2019.)

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

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

Computational Research Laboratory (CRL)
David Pinelle, Computational 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

Survey and Group Analysis Laboratory (SGAL)
Stan Yu, Survey Research Manager and Specialist
Jessica McCutcheon, Survey Research Manager and Specialist (On Leave)

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

The Spatial Laboratory (TSL)
Weiping (Winston) Zeng, GIS Research Manager and Specialist