Nicole Luke

Assistant Professor, Applied Disability Studies
Faculty of Social Sciences

Nicole Luke, Assistant Professor of Applied Disability Studies in Brock’s Faculty of Social Sciences, is a behaviour analyst who specializes in the strategic science of instruction for both adult and child learners. She has worked in both clinical and educational settings and consulted for a variety of organizations in North America, Europe and Asia. Luke is guided by a belief that scientific findings can improve the quality of educational systems and, through those systems, contribute to an improved quality of life for people in communities of all sizes. Her research interests include organizational behaviour management, teaching and leadership from an operant perspective, and verbal behaviour development.

Luke is one of 11 Brock researchers and scholars who received funding under the 2019-2020 round of the VPR Canada Games Grant program. Here, she discusses the research she’s conducting, titled “Understanding the Impact of Participation in the Canada Games on Individual Ontario Athletes.”

Please give a brief overview of your research project.

My team and I are exploring the experiences of both former and future athletes in athletics/track and field as it relates to the Canada Games. We are doing a mixed methods research project where we are looking at statistical data from Canadian families and we are interviewing individual athletes. We want to try and understand how the Canada Games might have influenced people and their active lives.

What do you expect will be the outcome of your research?

We went into this project with few expectations, as it’s unique, but we are hoping to find some thematic patterns in the interviews and to find some patterns of activity in the statistical data. We expect to draw some parallels across these two collections of data and we hope to find evidence of the effect that the Canada Games might be having on the athletic community.

How will this contribute to knowledge or understanding of the Canada Summer Games?

Our project is intended to contribute to an understanding of the effect the Canada Summer Games has on the athletes themselves. We know the intention of the Games is to encourage more people to pursue athletics, competition and sports engagement, and we want to understand if that encouragement is being realized.

How did you become interested in this research?

I became interested in this research because of my background in research on verbal behaviour and the intersection of that research background with my personal life as an athlete. I thought it would be great to combine what I love about my work with what I love to do after work. Listening to athletes talk about their experiences is a fascinating process.

How do you plan on sharing your research?

We plan to prepare and submit an article for publication in a professional journal. We also plan to attend a professional conference focused on sports participation. We are looking for additional outlets to share our findings with the athletic community.

Do you have any advice or tips on how colleagues in your Faculty can incorporate the Canada Games into their research?

The Canada Games crosses a lot of boundaries so I think it can be incorporated in a number of different ways. There are social aspects to competitive sports, there are interesting aspects of the physical space required in the community for the Games, and there is a long and rich history of the Canada Games in so many different sporting specialties.

I found it helpful to think about my own research expertise as a starting point and then I applied it to the Canada Games as an event in which people are participating in so many different roles. I thought about some of those roles that were of particular interest to me. That helped me navigate the event in a way that was meaningful to me and allowed me to see the value that I might be able to bring to the Canada Games experience.