In July 2016 I have been denied a visa to the UK. Now my concern is if it's possible to enter the Schengen area in September for research and sightseeing with a cross stamp in my passport?
I'm a Canadian citizen.
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As specified in the Canadian travel advice for France (exemplary for other Schengen countries) you do not need a visa to enter the Schengen area.
Tourist visa: Not required for stays up to 90 days*
This is not altered by your previous UK visa refusal.
However upon arrival you will have a landing interview which can be anything from a brief look to a lengthy discussion and the outcome can range from admission to refused entry. There is no way predicting that outcome but your denied UK visa is a weak point.
The officer will assume you would want to overstay/work illegaly/do other bad stuff in the Schengen area and it is your job to be able to convince them of the opposite. You will want to have a well-planned touristic itinerary with you, including bookings of accomodation and transport if possible. You mention wanting to go for "research" among others which sounds fairly vague to me and might surely lead to plenty of other questions.