Research

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  • Understanding policy workers’ policy innovation capacity: An exploratory and qualitative mixed methods evaluation study of a policy hackathon program in Prince Edward Island, Canada
    Understanding policy workers’ policy innovation capacity: An exploratory and qualitative mixed methods evaluation study of a policy hackathon program in Prince Edward Island, Canada
    Executive Summary: Background: In 2018, the Government of PEI, Veterans Affairs Canada, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and the Start-Up Zone brought together 49 individuals from the public and private sector to participate in a Policy Hackathon Program. A series of learning sessions were delivered while participants moved through a public policy case competition. This paper evaluates and studies this program and makes design recommendations for future policy hackathon programs. In the process, the paper draws attention to not only the relevance, performance and impact of the Program, but also larger discussions related to the unique attributes of the islandness of public policy, policy innovation, and austerity on an island. Methods: The evaluation study adopted a social-constructivist worldview, whereby the perceptions of participants and the interpretation of the researcher were used to understand the Program. A qualitative mixed methods design was employed which involved generating qualitative and quantitative data through a pre-program survey (N=48), post-program survey (N=38), interviews with a random sample of participants (N=6), and interviews with a purposive sample of key informants (N=2). Bason’s (2014) design for policy theory and the OECD’s (2017) core skills for public sector innovation framework were operationalized to understand the results in relation to theory and best practice. Quantitative and qualitative results were interpreted by the researcher to understand the Program and also to connect the results to public policy theory and constructs. Results: Relevance The Program responded to a need in PEI’s policy environment. There was clear indication that participants believed that PEI needs new micro-and meso-level policy tools to develop public policy. Participants indicated that having opportunities to learn about policy innovation was important to them. The Program’s emphasis on mentorship was relevant, given that participants believed that such multidisciplinary connections were important for policy development. Performance The Program performed well in terms of increasing participants’ individual policy capacity as well as that of the entire group, meeting participants’ expectations to receive valuable learning, and allowing participants to meaningfully connect with a broad range of individuals. The Program performed less optimally in the areas of providing participants with new policy tools, mentorship, and connecting with citizens. Impact Participants perceived the Program to have had a positive impact on their skill development in a wide range of areas and in increasing their comfort level with on-the-spot decision-making. Participants indicated that they would seek to integrate similar learning opportunities into their professional development plans in the future. Participants also reported that they believed the Program had a positive impact on the group’s policy capacity and capacity to undertake innovative policy work. Policy Innovation The policy workers involved in the Program (i.e., participants) have cognitively established the positive connection between mentorship and innovation. Participants reported an increase in their confidence to apply human-centered design concepts. In terms of Bason’s (2014) theory and the OECD’s (2017) framework, the Program exposed participants to important policy innovation concepts. Given that participants indicated they thought that individuals who participated in the Program were better prepared to conduct innovative policy work in the future, it is assumed that the Program had a positive impact, to some degree, on increasing the policy innovation capacity of policy workers. Conclusion The study concludes by reiterating that the value of a policy hackathon program is as much related to process as new policies. In other words, in order for policy hackathon programs to be successful, they do PEI Policy Hackathon Program not necessarily need to result in the development of a new policy. Rather, as shown in this study, there can be positive impacts to participants’ policy innovation capacity which can occur during the program. Policy hackathon programs therefore should not be judged entirely on the intervention’s outputs. The study also concludes with a discussion in relation to the islandness of public policy, policy innovation, policy hackathons, and evaluation heuristics. Finally, the paper offers some thoughts on findings which pointed to the existence of austerity and the need for greater citizen-focus in public policy., Cameron, Bobby Thomas. (2018). Understanding policy workers’ policy innovation capacity: An exploratory and qualitative mixed methods evaluation study of a policy hackathon program in Prince Edward Island, Canada. Research Paper, Centre for Policy Innovation and Public Engagement, Ryerson University, Toronto, ON, Canada.
    Undressing Fashion Metadata: Ryerson University Fashion Research Collection
    Undressing Fashion Metadata: Ryerson University Fashion Research Collection
    The purpose of this poster is to provide insight into the processes involved in making a unique fashion research and teaching collection discoverable in an online environment at Ryerson University. The online collection will provide a means for the users to identify what artifacts are available for research purposes and facilitate teaching in the classroom. The poster will highlight effective metadata standards and elements, cross-domain metadata uses, metadata mapping and implementation., Eichenlaub, N., Morgan, M., & Masak-Mida, I. (2014, October). Undressing Fashion Metadata: Ryerson University Fashion Research Collection. Proceedings of the International Conference on Dublin Core and Metadata Applications, 195-197. Retrieved from http://dcpapers.dublincore.org/pubs/article/view/3723/1946, Papers, Project Reports and Posters for DC-2014 in Austin, Texas, 8-11 October 2014
    Unmediated is the Message: Enhancements to Traditional Interlibrary Loan in a Canadian University
    Unmediated is the Message: Enhancements to Traditional Interlibrary Loan in a Canadian University
    Originally published in: Interlending & Document Supply, 32(3): 152-158. Publisher URL: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/10.1108/02641610410551978
    Unmixing the mixed questions: a framework for distinguishing between questions of fact and questions of law in contractual interpretation
    Unmixing the mixed questions: a framework for distinguishing between questions of fact and questions of law in contractual interpretation
    In Sattva Capital Corp v Creston Moly Corp, the Supreme Court of Canada established that contractual interpretation generally involves questions of mixed fact and law subject to a standard of palpable and overriding error, unless an extricable error of law is identified. The Court confirmed and specified this holding in a number of subsequent decisions. The new approach to appellate deference has sparked criticism from various parties in the legal community. A tension has emerged between the Supreme Court shifting away from the historical common law approach to deference and the appellate courts’ attempts to restore it. This article examines the theoretical foundations of this new case law development and proposes a methodological framework for distinguishing between questions of law and question of fact in contractual interpretation. The ultimate goal is to provide guidance on the choice of the appropriate standard of appellate review in this area. First, it is argued that the recent case law development introduced by the Supreme Court lacks rigorous analytical foundations and fails to provide adequate guidance on choosing the appropriate degree of deference on appeal. Second, it is contended that a useful methodological approach for distinguishing between questions of fact and questions of law is 1) to identify the cognitive task performed by the judge when adjudicating the contended issue, and 2) to assess the relative advantage of adjudicating actors in performing that cognitive task. Cognitive task refers to the type of judicial reasoning, or inferential activity, the judge performs when deciding an issue., Bertolini, D. (w (forthcoming, 2019)). Unmixing the Mixed Questions: A Framework for Distinguishing Between Questions of Fact and Questions of Law in Contractual Interpretation. University of British Columbia Law Review, 54 pages.
    Urban resilience in Canada : research priorities and best practices for climate resilience in cities.
    Urban resilience in Canada : research priorities and best practices for climate resilience in cities.
    Brown, C., Shaker, R.R., Gorgolewski, M., Papp, V., & Alkins, S. (2016). Urban resilience in Canada: Research priorities and best practices for climate resilience in cities. [Technical report]. 1-39. Available from: http://digital.library.ryerson.ca/islandora/object/RULA%3A4286
    User Task Scenarios for Map-Based Decision Support in Community Health Planning
    User Task Scenarios for Map-Based Decision Support in Community Health Planning
    Health outcomes are affected by the socio-demographic and physical-environmental characteristics of the places where people live. Therefore, epidemiologists have been interested in the use of maps to explore spatial patterns of disease for a long time. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are not only useful when visualizing complex spatial datasets but also when mapping the results of analytical processes. One such process is multi-criteria evaluation (MCE), which can be used to generate composite measures of public health based on individual, medical and non-medical factors.The objective of this study was to determine if geovisual MCE can be an effective tool in community health planning. We provided highly interactive thematic maps coupled with MCE tools to planners at a community health centre and evaluated their use for community health planning and decision-making. User task scenarios were designed in a way to compare the usefulness of different representation methods for a number of tasks.The pilot user test with two expert participants included interviews, questionnaires, and user task scenarios with think-aloud audio and screen video recording. We assessed the easiness of completing the tasks using completion rates and times and could identify a number of specific usability issues with the tool at hand.
    Uses and gratifications factors for social media use in teaching: Instructors’ perspectives
    Uses and gratifications factors for social media use in teaching: Instructors’ perspectives
    This research was motivated by an interest in understanding how social media are applied in teaching in higher education. Data were collected using an online questionnaire, completed by 333 instructors in higher education, that asked about general social media use and specific use in teaching. Education and learning theories suggest three potential reasons for instructors to use social media in their teaching: (1) exposing students to practices, (2) extending the range of the learning environment, and (3) promoting learning through social interaction and collaboration. Answers to open-ended questions about how social media were used in teaching, and results of a factor analysis of coded results, revealed six distinct factors that align with these reasons for use: (1) facilitating student engagement, (2) instructor’s organization for teaching, (3) engagement with outside resources, (4) enhancing student attention to content, (5) building communities of practice, and (6) resource discovery. These factors accord with a Uses and Gratifications perspective that depicts adopters as active media users choosing and shaping media use to meet their own needs. Results provide a more comprehensive picture of social media use than found in previous work, encompassing not only the array of media used but also the range of purposes associated with use of social media in contemporary teaching initiatives. Keywords: Adoption of technology, educational technology, higher education, instructor experiences, social media, teaching, Uses and Gratifications, Gruzd, A., Haythornthwaite, C., Paulin, D., Gilbert, S., & Esteve del Valle, M. (2016). Uses and gratifications factors for social media use in teaching: Instructors’ perspectives. New Media and Society. http://nms.sagepub.com/content/early/2016/08/08/1461444816662933.abstrac
    Using GIS towards the Characterization and Soil Mapping of the Caia Irrigation Perimeter
    Using GIS towards the Characterization and Soil Mapping of the Caia Irrigation Perimeter
    The Caia Irrigation Perimeter is an irrigation infrastructure implemented in 1968. As is often the case, the original soil map of this region (dated from 1961) does not have the detail needed to characterize a relatively small-sized zone, where intensive agricultural practices take place. Using FAO methodology and with the main goal of establishing a larger-scale soil map, adequate for the demands of a modern and intensive agriculture, we gathered the geological characterization of the study area and information about the topography, climate, and vegetation of the region. Using ArcGIS software, we overlapped this information and established a pre-map of soil resources. Based on this pre-map, we defined a set of detailed itineraries in the field, evenly distributed, in which soil samples were collected. In those distinct soil units, we opened several soil profiles, from which we selected 26 to analyze in the present study, since they characterized the existing diversity in terms of soil type and soil properties. Based on the work of verification, correction, and reinterpretation of the preliminary soil map, we reached a final soil map for the Caia Irrigation Perimeter, which is characterized by enormous heterogeneity, typical of Mediterranean soils, containing 23 distinct cartographic units, the most representative being the Distric Fluvisols with inclusions of Luvisols Distric occupying 29.9% of the total study area, and Calcisols Luvic with inclusions of Luvisols endoleptic with 11.9% of the total area. Considering the obtained information on soil properties; ArcGIS was used to develop a map in which it was possible to ascertain the impact of the continuous practice of irrigation in this area. This allows us to put forward relevant conclusions on the need to access and monitor specific Mediterranean soils in order to mitigate the environmental impact of irrigation practices., Nunes, J., Loures, L., Lopez-Piñeiro, A., Loures, A., & Vaz, E. (2016). Using GIS towards the characterization and soil mapping of the caia irrigation perimeter. Sustainability, 8(4), 368. doi:10.3390/su8040368, (This article belongs to the Special Issue Earth Observation and Geoinformation Technologies for Sustainable Development)
    Using High Frequency Ultrasound Envelope Statistics to Determine Scatterer Number Density in Dilute Cell Solutions
    Using High Frequency Ultrasound Envelope Statistics to Determine Scatterer Number Density in Dilute Cell Solutions
    Online version of a conference paper originally published as: Using High Frequency Ultrasound Envelope Statistics to Determine Scatterer Number Density in Dilute Cell Solutions, A.S. Tunis, R. E. Baddour, G. J. Czarnota, A. Giles, A. E. Worthington, M. D. Sherar, and M. C. Kolios In Proceedings of the 2005 IEEE International Ultrasonics Symposium, Volume 2, pp.878-881 Publisher URL: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpls/abs_all.jsp?arnumber=1602990