Issue 2 progress report sharing the science contact us

planting research seeds

A new national database to help research grow is being developed for The Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network.


The language will be unfamiliar to most, the heroes a bit unusual, and the plot unlike anything you'd find in a regular story. But still the reader will be drawn in and, if inspired, will take intriguing nuggets from these tales to create sequels.

Network researcher and Edudata Canada director, Victor Glickman's idea of storytelling is better known as knowledge mobilization — the opportunity to create new knowledge by using and building on existing information. Glickman and his colleagues at Edudata are creating a whole new way for scientists to speak to each other, and in a unique project, are helping The Network break new ground by turning its researchers into storytellers.

The goal of the Network Knowledge Translation Project is to create an easily accessible research data catalogue for existing and new projects. The digital catalogue describes each study's research questions, research instruments and methods, study designs, sample sizes, and other key information in a standardized way, which is relevant for research collaboration and partnerships.

It will take The Network to the next plateau in scientific collaboration and is one of the first examples of a large, multi-disciplinary group working toward the creation of Network knowledge.

“By creating opportunities to construct new knowledge, we are optimizing investment in The Network,” says Glickman. “If scientists can tell their stories in a way that describes the actual science of the project, then other researchers can use that information in further studies and extend the potential of the initial work. That's knowledge mobilization.”

In the world of ideas, catalogues make sense according to Glickman. “If you want to grow a garden, you look in a seed catalogue that will tell you about the character of the plant or the flower. If you want to conduct research into a particular area, it makes sense to have a research catalogue.

“There's a gap between the specialists who know the information and the researchers or practitioners who could use it,” he explains. For example, more than $40 billion is spent every year in Canada operating the kindergarten to Grade 12 education system. But very little is invested to make data about that system available for research. The bridge needed to close the gap is knowledge mobilization.

“We are creating opportunities for people to develop and build new knowledge on the platform of work that their colleagues initiated.”

The new database was demonstrated for Network delegates during The Network's Annual Scientific Meeting in June. The first edition is available at

Stories for scientists by scientists: it's bound to make for many exciting new sequels in the world of language and literacy development.


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