Population Change and Lifecourse

Fifth CPS Graduate Research Development Conference

Graduate Research Development Conference Final Report

Project Description

The fifth CPS Graduate Research Development Conference was held on May 27th, 2014, as part of the 2014 meeting of the Canadian Population Society at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, Brock University. Hosted by the Population Change and Lifecourse Strategic Knowledge Cluster, the aims of this conference were:

Of the Conference one student said:

As a first time presenter at a conference, I benefited a lot from the presenting experience. First of all, the conference provided me an opportunity to show my research to other graduate students who conducted similar research. It gave us a chance to exchange opinions and to help each other’s work. Secondly, it was really helpful to get comments from the experts in the field, it helped me to improve my work efficiency.

What students found useful about the Conference

The opportunity to have a trainer help them with their research

The presenters were pleased to have an expert in their area of interest provide them with useful commentary to enrich their papers and dissertations, specifically:

Additionally, as in previous years, we specifically requested that the trainers provide their students with written feedback on their papers and their presentations. All students found this to be useful to organize their thoughts and some students have indicated that they have already used this advice to restructure their papers for publication.

One of the presenters remarked:

I have received feedback on the paper I presented from multiple professors at my home university and the research trainer was able to provide a different perspective. He pointed out issues and suggestions for addressing those issues, which had not previously been identified to me. This was helpful because I intend to further develop this paper and hopefully submit it for publication within the next year. Receiving positive feedback from a research trainer that I have not had contact with before was also reassuring as a young academic.

Another student emphasized the trainer input regarding communication:

The general feedback that the trainers discussed about publishing papers and conducting research in academia were very inspiring. I especially enjoyed Professor Fong’s comments on how to write a paper to reach a wider audience and Professor Kaida’s comments on how to prepare for a conference presentation.

A third student benefited from watching the critique process:

Based on the comments I received from the conference, now I have a better understanding about how to critique a research project and presentation style. I would share my experience whenever we have presentation in class.

The Knowledge Mobilization Seminar

The day concluded with a Knowledge Mobilization Seminar conducted by Jayne Morrish, a Knowledge Translation Officer in the Jack and Nora Walker Canadian Centre for Lifespan Development Research at Brock University. Jayne gave a presentation entitled “Make your research stick – Lessons from a knowledge mobilizer.” The presentation centered on the idea of how to translate research into impactful documents and messages. She highlighted several key principles of knowledge translation including ‘knowing your audience’, ‘stickiness’, and ‘behaviour change’.

The presentation was kept relatively informal, which allowed for impromptu questions and discussions. This format kept the participants engaged and allowed the presentation to follow and adapt to the interests of the group. Jayne proved to be an invaluable resource not only in knowledge translation and mobilization, but also in grant proposals and applications.

Professionalization experience

For many of the students, the most useful and long-lasting benefit of participating in the Conference was the opportunity to meet with experts in their field, to meet like-minded students, and to be able to forge relationships with established demographers.  Especially:

Suggestions for Future Conferences

Changes in Conference Organizations

The participants in the 2014 Graduate Research Development Conference were enthusiastic about the conference in its present format, including the changes implemented based on feedback from the 2013 conference. Ideas presented for the 2015 conference include:

Organizers & Attendees


  • Stacey Hallman, Western University
  • Maxwell Hartt, University of Waterloo
  • Laura Wright, Western University

Graduate Student Participants

  • Amanda Couture-Carron, University of Toronto
  • Lei Chai, University of Victoria
  • Nicole Denier, McGill University
  • Annie Gong, Western University
  • S. M. Tariqul Islam, Laurentian University
  • Kelly Landon Ruest, Carleton University
  • Yujiro Sano, Memorial University
  • Haosen Sun, Western University
  • Meng Yu, Memorial University

Research Trainers

  • Monica Boyd, University of Toronto
  • Martin Cooke, University of Waterloo
  • Eric Fong, University of Toronto
  • Gustave Goldmann, University of Ottawa
  • Michael Haan, University of New Brunswick
  • Lisa Kaida, Memorial University of Newfoundland
  • Rachel Margolis, Western University
  • Fernando Mata, Carleton University
  • Arzu Sardarli, First Nations University of Canada
  • Zoua Vang, McGill University

Knowledge Mobilization Trainer

  • Jayne Morrish, Brock University

How participants will use what they have learned:

The participants were eager to pass on the information they learned at the 2014 CPS Graduate Research Development Conference to their peers and mentors at their home universities. They mentioned:

One student plans to encourage other students to participate in similar conferences and incorporate knowledge mobilization techniques into her work:

I would encourage other students to participate in conferences like this in order to disseminate their research, as well as to receive feedback, especially from others familiar with the data they are using. I also learned a lot about different Canadian data sources, which I may use for future research, and will inform others at my university about. The talk about research dissemination strategies was instructive, so I plan to incorporate how I am going to disseminate findings at the outset of all future projects.