Qualitative Data: Real-time interviews are critical to well-rounded research

Qualitative Data: Real-time interviews are critical to well-rounded research

BII+E alumni, Kamilah Ebrahim shares learnings from her summer internship at the Institute.
Qualitative Data: Real-time interviews are critical to well-rounded research
Kamilah Ebrahim
Policy + Research Intern
September 20, 2021
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This summer, I was lucky to have been the Research + Policy Intern at BII+E. I honestly can’t believe how quickly these past 16 weeks have gone by, and how much I learned during my time at the Institute. 

As an Economics grad and a current Human-Centred Data Science Master’s candidate, many of my interests lie at the intersection of economy and innovation, and I had been following the BII+E on social media for a couple years before my internship. I was drawn to the way BII+E was able to communicate important policy knowledge in accessible and interesting ways, something I found to be a consistent central tenet in the Institute’s work since I joined the team this summer. 

From the first day of the internship, I instantly felt supported by my director, Wylie Burke, and internship coordinator Michelle Park. They made sure to craft my internship experience in a way that catered to my own personal learning and development goals. 

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"The insights that I gained from working with the team at Brookfield, our collaborators, and our expert panel have been instrumental in my understanding of how Canadian policy can be mobilized to solve some of society’s more pressing issues, like food security and climate change."

Kamilah Ebrahim

One of my goals at the beginning of the summer was to become a more well-rounded researcher, with both strong quantitative and qualitative skills. As a data science student, I came into the internship with a strong quantitative skill-set, and I wanted to work on building up my qualitative research experience. 

As a result, much of my time this summer was spent working on projects where there would be an opportunity to gain more qualitative research skills, such as designing and conducting stakeholder interviews.

The main project I worked on during my time here was Canada’s Moonshot. As part of this project, the research team had regular touch points with members of the Canadian innovation and policy space, as well as with members of our expert advisory panel. The insights that I gained from working with the team at Brookfield, our collaborators, and our expert panel have been instrumental in my understanding of how Canadian policy can be mobilized to solve some of society’s more pressing issues, like food security and climate change. 

"Innovations in AI are undoubtedly affecting the way Canadians work and it’s crucial that researchers and policymakers speak with workers on the ground to get a better sense of the changes that are already here, and the ones that are coming."

Kamilah Ebrahim

Another project I worked on this summer involved Brookfield partnering with the OECD and researchers in other countries to better understand the impact of AI in workplaces, specifically in the finance and manufacturing sectors. Innovations in AI are undoubtedly affecting the way Canadians work and it’s crucial that researchers and policymakers speak with workers on the ground to get a better sense of the changes that are already here, and the ones that are coming. Working on this project gave me incredibly valuable insight into the inception and design of a qualitative research project. 

In spite of a fully remote internship, BII+E allowed me to gain a range of skills in a supportive environment that prioritized my growth as an early-career researcher. I learned to embrace ambiguity in the research process, work effectively across sectors and time zones, and refine my research and design skills. I’m looking forward to returning to school in the fall and applying my knowledge to support my goal of building inclusive tech and innovation in Canada.

For media enquiries, please contact Lianne George, Director of Strategic Communications at the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship.