Hello PISA! My name is Anne-Frédérique and I'm a second-year student pursuing an honour in international studies, major in political science and a minor in Hispanic studies. As a person who has been highly involved throughout my academic journey, as surprising as this may sound, I wanted to do the complete opposite for my first year at Bishop’s. Indeed, I wanted to take the time to fully understand Bishop’s and its numerous opportunities before throwing myself in every project I was interested in.
By the half of my second semester, I was finally ready to dedicate more time to extracurricular projects since my synchronized skating season was over and I had the time to make friends, and better understand the department. My desire to participate in a multitude of projects could not be contained any further and I was looking forward to being involved again. Fortunately, it was around that period that Professor McKeen-Edwards offered me the opportunity to work as a research assistant. The research focused on the place given to officials within administrative bodies and decision-making spaces of sports organizations in Canada. As an athlete myself who practised a judged sport for years, I was truly interested in the topic. Upon the suggestion of Professor McKeen-Edwards, I decided to focus on the gender aspect of Canadian hockey officiating so that I made the most out of this opportunity. I therefore pursued a literature review of the topic to better grasp the reality of women in hockey officiating.
As I was slowly starting my research, I applied to a research grant application opportunity that we received through Bishop’s email. What started as a research assistant job turned out to be my first ever research project. Since the topic I chose has rarely been approached before, I wanted to go further than solely basing my research on a literature review. I therefore developed a survey with the help of my supervisor that I sent out to official-in-chiefs at the provincial level and other members involved in women officiating. This project allowed me to produce a policy analysis report in regards to the expansion of female participation and the facilitation of women inclusion within hockey officiating in Canada.
Not only I gained knowledge on the topic I was researching, but learned tremendously about what a research project entails. It was an opportunity for me to enhance my research development and design skills as I had to think about a method that was possible with the time frame and resources I had. Furthermore, the development of my own questionnaire familiarized me with the whole creation process. I got to learn how to work with a survey program, which will definitely be useful for future research as well. Overall, this project gave me a good idea of the reality of research and I would definitely recommend it to all students, even if research does not seem too appealing to you, just so you get to experience it yourself.
This year, the research grant opportunity is still open and I highly encourage you to go out there and jump on this chance. I can’t stress enough how lucky we are at Bishop’s, as undergraduate students, to have the chance to apply to this kind of projects. It is truly a unique thing to say that I pursued my first research project after only two semesters of university. The opportunities are out there, go get them!