Today, my colleague Philip Savage and I presented the first, very preliminary results from our QPMAP: Question Period Monitoring and Analysis Project in front of a great crowd of 24 engaged colleagues from across Canada at the Canadian Communication Association’s (CCA) annual conference at Concordia University in Montréal. The CCA was part of the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences – an annual Canadian mega-conference which gathers approximately 8,000 academics in 70 national scholarly associations.
We were part of an excellent panel that included:
- James Cairn (Laurier University, Brantford) & Susan Ferguson
- Janis Goldie (Huntington University [formerly a college of Laurentian University])
- Alex Sévigny & Philip Savage (McMaster University)
Philip and I presented the first round of analyses of very preliminary data from the QPMAP survey, which codes Question Period episodes to establish a baseline of the content, tone and civility of the communication that happens during this most public and crucial moment in the Canadian democratic process. Much of Canada’s democratic process happens behind closed doors in cabinet and caucus meetings who minutes are never published. Question Period is an exception to this – a chance for Members of Parliament to ask questions seeking information of the government.
Our data are still very preliminary and not ready for citation. They will be very soon, though – certainly by the end of the summer.
There was an involved discussion after our presentation and we received many excellent suggestions about how to improve both our methodology and our analyses. We welcome this feedback and will use it to improve future iterations of QPMAP.
One of the most encouraging aspects of the presentation was the audience’s reaction to our new COMM-Lab: Communication Metrics Laboratory. Everyone was really impressed at the inclusive nature of the research model that we have built – one that includes undergraduates as key partners in the research process from the ground floor in new projects.
Both Philip and I have the students’ interests as our first priority, so it was good to see this emphasis rewarded by praise from our CCA colleagues.