ResearchSnapshot enhances community access to research at York

How would a community organization or policy-maker access social science or humanities research expertise from York? From the United Way of York Region to the Children’s Aid Society, non-academic audiences can now access ResearchSnapshot, a searchable library of summaries of research projects, completed by York’s Knowledge Mobilization (KM) Unit and launched at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences at Carleton University on May 24.

Funded by a Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) grant and led by David Phipps, director, Office of Research Services, the first phase of ResearchSnapshot provides a database of 42 summaries of projects. The summaries – with expertise ranging from organizational behaviour to homelessness and immigration – are searchable by researcher, subject or keyword. Each summary is written in simple language intended to highlight the research expertise at York and inform decisions about public policy or professional practice.

A look at one ResearchSnapshot, about research on the impact of management policies on the nutrition of homeless youth in Canada, informs organizations that research by York education Professor Stephen Gaetz found that the policies intended to help homeless youth are, in fact, having a negative effect. The research identifies that policies are forcing youth to rely on limited emergency food aid and instead of becoming independent they are increasing their chances of malnourishment. Similarly, all summaries identify the research methods, background, results and possible applications, as well as provide a brief biography of the researcher.

"York’s social science and humanities researchers are well-recognized by the international research community. ResearchSnapshot now allows us to systematically extend that reach. Since we had identified the need for policy- and decision-makers to have access to research results that were written in plain language, these summaries are crucial in filling the implementation gap by strengthening the movement for evidence-based policy," said Stan Shapson, vice-president research & innovation.

About York’s Knowledge Mobilization (KM) Unit

Initiated by and with continued support of the Office of the Vice-President, Research & Innovation, York is the first university in Canada to develop an institutional capacity to broadly support knowledge mobilization. York’s KM Unit provides services for faculty, graduate students and community and government organizations seeking to maximize the impact of academic research and expertise on public policy, social programming and professional practice. ResearchSnapshot is a new service provided by York’s KM Unit, supported by grants from the SSHRC and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the York Region District School Board and the Regional Municipality of York.

York researchers interested in utilizing this service can contact Michael Johnny, manager, knowledge mobilization, at ext. 88876.  

Click here for more information and to view the searchable database of summaries.