Human Ecology Research – Contributing to the well-being of individuals, families and communities.
The Department of Human Ecology’s faculty and graduate students pursue research programs to advance knowledge about the interrelationships between people and their near environments. These environments may comprise the human constructed, material environment and/or the social and cultural contexts in which individuals and families exist. People and their environments are interconnected in an active process of mutual influence and change.
A human ecological theoretical perspective provides a way to consider complex, multi-level relationships and integrate many kinds of data, often combining qualitative and quantitative methods of analysis. Researchers are supported by funds secured from all three tri-council granting agencies in Canada, SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council), NSERC (The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada) and CIHR (Canadian Institutes of Health Research).
The Human Ecology department at the University supports rigorous multidisciplinary research programs with a particular focus on four main areas: aging; children, youth and families, material culture studies and, textile and apparel science.
Human Ecology faculty, collaborating with global scholars, focus on research on the care and support of older adults and adults with chronic illness or disability, costs incurred by family/friend caregivers, contributions and social inclusion of older adults, and age-friendly rural communities. The research mission is to make a meaningful difference in the lives of older adults and their families by bridging research, policies, and practice.
For more information about on-going research projects and recent publications, please visit the following links to individual faculty members.
Children, Youth & Families
Family Science faculty specialize in family theory, and family policy and practice across many dimensions including parent-child relationships, work-family integration, family poverty and marginalized youth and families. In conducting research about family dynamics, and working with government and community partners, the broad aim of the research programs is to enhance the well-being of children, youth and families across the lifecourse.
Material Culture Studies
Material Culture research in the Department of Human Ecology considers the social meaning of objects in relation to their creation, use, circulation and consumption in both contemporary and historical contexts, with a particular emphasis on clothing and textiles. The focus on these particular material goods is enhanced by the Department’s museum quality Clothing and Textiles Collection which consists of more than 20,000 textile and garment artifacts. The interdisciplinary research in this field seeks to reveal how material forms are central to the socialization of human beings into culture.
Textile and Apparel Science
Innovative research is pursued by the Human Ecology Department’s textile science and apparel design faculty to enhance human comfort and protection through clothing and textile solutions for items ranging from protective gear, uniforms, and sportswear to clothing for disabled persons. This research reflects the critical function textiles and apparel have as our nearest physical environment. Researchers in the department have distinguished themselves in the fields of fiber science with a focus on areas such as material response under various thermal hazards, combustion of textile materials, odour transfer, standards development and functional apparel design.
Public Service and Outreach:
Human Ecology is committed to sharing research with the public through a range of activities and services. Examples include:
For more information contact:
Department of Human Ecology
302 Human Ecology Building
University of Alberta,
Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2N1
Phone (780) 492-3824, or fax (780) 492-4821
Toll Free 1-800-804-6417 (Western Canada)