Gen Z’s Practices for Resisting Ads 

Gen Z Logo

With this research project, we are exploring if Gen Z is resisting advertising in creative and multi-faceted ways — are they poking fun at brands through internet memes, taking technical measures to obscure their identities from big data profilers, or accessing streaming services to opt-out of advertising? This research is funded by the Faculty of Social Sciences Dean’s Discretionary fund at Brock University.

A  copy of the invitation letter is available for your review.

Project Open Source Open Society

Open Source Starry Scene

Project Open Source Open Society aims to carry out participatory research with Mozilla, a global non-profit committed to the open web. The project explores the idea of open source software as a component of a society, which upholds our democratic ideals.

Add-ons for Privacy: Open Source Advocacy Tactics for Internet Health
In 2017, a Mozilla Research Grant was awarded to explore the development of privacy add-ons as a tactic for advocacy and internet health.

Privacy add-on developers, or other individuals who are knowledgeable about privacy add-ons, are being sought out for interviews. An overview of the project and a copy of the consent form are available for your review.

Photo by: Maria Boehling for via Flickr under CC BY-SA 2.0

Learning to Code and Engage with Open Data

8016173672_0e006b2dcb_o-1Learning to Code and Engage with Open Data is a pilot project funded by the Council for Research in the Social Sciences at Brock University (2015-present). The project aims to document experiences at hackathon and social coding events.

A co-design and research workshop at Civic Tech Toronto is currently being planned for April 25th, 2017. Further information is available to explain the workshop activity and research.

Previous stages included a survey and interviews with learners, mentors and instructors from a national learn to code day (2015) and participants from a hackathon (2016).

Photo by: Just Grimes via Flickr under CC BY-SA 2.0

The eQuality Project


The eQuality Project is a 7-year partnership grant (2015-2022) funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (PI: Dr. Valerie Steeves, University of Ottawa). The project explores equality issues, such as privacy and cyberbullying, in the digitally mediated lives of youth.

Privacy Badges

IPAddressTracer_Transparent02-150x150Co-designing Open Badges for Privacy Education with Canadian Youth was a participatory research project to create curriculum and to prototype open badges to enhance privacy education for teens in Canada. Dr. Karen Smith was the Principal Investigator for the Mozilla held grant, funded by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada through their Contributions Program. Eight teen peer researchers, Mozilla staff and academic collaborators made up the project team.


Digital Literacy and Open Source Software

Hive Toronto logo

From 2013-2015, Dr. Karen Smith was a Mitacs Elevate post-doctoral fellow with Mozilla in Toronto. Dr. Smith contributed to building the Hive Toronto digital literacy network with over 60 organizational members. Additionally, she supported research and knowledge synthesis relevant to web literacy, open source software and civic media.

Exploring and Understanding Digital Archives

Project information and consent letter.