Research and Evaluation at MediaSmarts
At MediaSmarts, our educational resources, public awareness campaigns, and policy recommendations are grounded in the best available evidence pertaining to digital media literacy. In collaboration and consultation with various partners, our research team specializes in designing and facilitating both qualitative and quantitative research projects and conducting robust evaluations of all our digital media literacy programs and resources.
Our longest-running research project – Young Canadians in a Wireless World (YCWW) – is the largest and most comprehensive study of how children and youth use the internet and digital technology in Canada. Phase I of this project began in 2000 and Phase IV results will be released in 2022-23.
In addition to our YCWW research, we lead research projects on a wide range of digital media literacy issues, including: online privacy and consent, algorithmic literacy, online harms and online hate, non-consensual sharing of intimate images, digital well-being and collective online resilience, digital equity and the digital divide, digital media literacy and ethical digital citizenship.
All our research and evaluation projects follow the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans - TCPS 2 (2018), and all projects involving human subjects are reviewed by Carleton University’s Office of Research Ethics. The CUREB protocol requires that we clearly state project goals, purpose, benefits (including participant compensation), and data collection methods in addition to outlining clear recruitment and informed consent processes. Further, this ethics protocol requires us to clarify how we mitigate any risks to participants, specifically individuals and groups identified as vulnerable – paying specific attention to research involving Indigenous peoples and communities as well as children and youth.
Most of our research projects involve working with children and youth from diverse communities across Canada. We focus on designing projects that create safe spaces for young people to share their thoughts, experiences, concerns, and solutions about various digital media literacy issues. Beyond participation in focus groups, interviews or surveys, we aim to empower young Canadians through the research process – providing them with knowledge and skills that they can take with them as they continue to navigate the online world and digital technology. We appreciate the time that all participants take to engage in our projects and the research team is always looking for new ways to collaborate with youth – acknowledging them as experts.