Research Process

Reciprocity in Research 

During their research for the What I Learned in Class Today: Aboriginal Issues in the Classroom project in 2008-2009, Karrmen Crey and Amy Perreault recognized that insomuch as the trends and experiences that were shared as part of the project were unique to UBC, the patterns emerging from these accounts spanned institutional boundaries. When the original What I Learned In Class Today project was made public as a learning resource and instigator for institutional change, Crey and Perreault (2009) published their research design, timeline, and process in the hope that other researchers would have the ability to do the same at their home institutions. For continuity and to model the original intention of the What I Learned in Class Today: Aboriginal Issues in the Classroom project, we have included our research design and other research outputs to serve as a guide to the process we undertook. 

Research Design:

The What I Learned in Class Today: Educational Experiences and Institutional Responses project’s research was guided by two questions: 

  1. How are Indigenous students and students who study in courses where Indigenous topics are the focus (and faculty/staff) experiencing classroom climate?
  2. How has the campus and classroom climate changed in the past 10 years?

Initial stages of the research process included completing an examination of UBC policies toward Indigenous students and Indigenous topics, a literature review exploring how Canadian universities support Indigenous students and Indigenous perspectives in the classroom, and a comparison between Indigenous student experiences 10 years ago versus today. 

After completing our own research, we performed focus groups and one-on-one interviews with students, faculty, staff, and alumnus. The data collected from these interviews and focus groups has guided our research outputs through videos, modules, and workshop development. 


Fall 2018: Ethics approval, preliminary planning, background project research, and recruitment

Jan-March 2019: Data collection from interviews, focus groups, student engagement, and community feedback

April-August 2019: Data analysis began from interviews for overlapping themes 

September-December 2019: Recruiting and engaging with undergraduate students to hear their voices 

Jan-March 2020: Year Two Ethics Approval

April-August 2020:  Editing faculty interviews, receiving feedback from interview participants, and the development of the learning articles & modules 

September-December 2020: Web development of the produced videos and articles & modules. Beginning to present the findings of the project in workshops. 

In the Future : Finalizing and publishing the student interviews from the project’s findings 

A note about the ethics process: ethics approval at an academic institution can take a considerable amount of time, particularly when interviewing participants on video and online, and this should be considered well in advance of any planned start-date for this kind of research project. We have renewed the UBC ethics process for this project twice over the course of the project. It’s an important step to take when discussing topics that need care. 


Environmental Scan
Focus Group Summary Report