Jurisdictions and dimensions
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Jurisdictions and dimensions
Jurisdictions and dimensions1Building blocksCensusCensus of CanadaSurveyCanadian Community Health SurveyNetting, N.S. and Burnett, M.L. (Apr 2004). Twenty Years of Student Sexual Behavior: Subcultural Adaptations to a Changing Health Environment Adolescence (39)153, 19-38. Retrieved from http://www.eric.ed.govAdministrative data Vital Statistics-Birth DatabaseIMS Health
It feels like numbers are everywhere and every question can be answered if you look hard enough, but its important to remember that statistics and data can only be generated in a limited number of ways.
Census (to be discussed later)
Survey - show StatsCan survey list, select Labour Force Survey, explain importance, link to Cansim table for unemployment; Show Academic survey link (Okanagan students)
Administrative data (Revenue Canada tax/economic picture, CBSA security(tax)/tourism, imports and exports admin data from Canada AND US)As individual researchers you and I cant ask for administrative data, but statscan uses it, and you will see it cited in reports)
BookNet (publishers know how many cookbooks THEY sold, but what about cookbooks in general? BookNet gathers sales data from all publishers and then creates reports companies can buy or subscribe to)
Data mining (using software to find patters in huge datasets like internet usage or credit card spending)Study: A million wicked thoughts (neuroscientists Ogas and Gaddam)Ngrams
If a patron asks you to tell her whether Canadian households have become more green in the past 10 years, think about how that could have been measured? (Could survey people - Do you use alternative energy? Do you buy green products? OR use admin data Compare sales of green cleaning products or hybrid cars) If you cant think of any way it could have been measured, patron may have to choose different topic
Can you trust the numbers?Image credit: WikipediaNow, how do you trust what you find?
Different issues come up, sampling bias, issues with self-reporting. International movement to declare Jedi Knight on census questions about religious affiliation
It is not your job to evaluate methodology, though you should point patrons to the methodology section of surveys, and notes attached to tables. You can help patrons in identifying reputable sources, however.
As health librarians you probably know more about sampling than we do dealing with systematic reviews and meta analysis. 3
And more recently
Who might have gathered these stats?International infant mortality Tobacco use among CanadiansMidwifery industry in WinnipegPharmaceutical sales from drug storesCost of rent in LethbridgeDrinking fountains in VancouverTeen Internet Gambling
You often have to look in several places to find the statistics you need, so your first step is going to be brainstorming which organizations or individuals might have gathered the information.
Can you suggest some possible sources for these topics (not databases, but organizations)?
Surveys are expensive to run asking yourself who would have bothered to measure this is a good way to test whether a question is worth pursuingAlso familiarizing yourself with organizations that create statistics can help you to determine whether youve identified the most appropriate and reputable source.5Sources by categoryStatistics-generating organizations fall into a few broad categories and you can use this chart as a check-list when youre brainstorming possible sourcesOfficial stats created by governmentIntergovernmental, each of these has info either on its website or in subscription databases. Carla will talk more about these later.Governmental statscanada is biggest contributor, but provinces and municipalities have important administrative data, and there is also a lot of cooperation between different ministries and levels of government
Unofficial stats (not to imply that they are less important, often they are best and only source)Think thanks (fraser institute, CCPA)Air transport Association, BC Real Estate BoardAcademic researchers
Commercial mostly for business, consumer behaviour, industry info. Run surveys, compile info from annual reports, range of sourcesBoth non-profit and commercial use offical data in their analyses too commercial publishers recompile official data for busy executiveAll of this re-use can make things confusing, but get used to checking citations for tables and charts.6
Follow the dataData re-use at the Provincial level
Note long list of subject headings on BC Stats site. This page reports on aboriginal peoples in the labour force for example, here are some stats from 2009 comparing labour participation by age, sex, region-note that these numbers came from the Labour Force Survey and the 2001 Census7