The purpose of this assignment is to for you to gain familiarity with sources of statistical information that are available for communication research papers. In this introductory assignment, we’ll focus primarily on publications by Statistics Canada, the country’s statistics-gathering and disseminating agency.
The broad topics listed below are issues of public concern and have frequently been reported in the media. They also have a statistical or numerical dimension to them that is at the heart of the controversy. If we understand the numbers and statistics in the situation, we will have a better grasp of the issue itself. Select one of these topics. Then, by researching appropriate secondary sources—articles and, perhaps, web pages that contain statistical information and Statistics Canada secondary publications—narrow the topic to a researchable question. Then find relevant Statistics Canada studies that provide statistical information on the question.
Your goal is to find recent trends (over a period of up to five years) or comparisons between groups that bear on the question you are investigating. For example: Is Internet usage by younger people increasing or decreasing? Do British Columbians use the Internet more frequently than Quebeckers? Are university students falling deeper in debt? Is the incidence of cancer among children increasing or decreasing?
Finally, write up your findings in a report of no more than six pages, plus appendices and bibliography.
There are four steps in this research. They are explained in detail in the Assignment Guide information.
Search the following databases and the Internet for articles with Canadian statistics on your broad topic. They will help you narrow it down.
Canadian Reference Centre
Search for specific Statistics Canada articles and basic statistics in the following sources. They will also help you narrow down your topic to a researchable question:
Canadian Social Trends
Find Statistics Canada publications through these resources.
Canadian Research Index
Statistics Canada Online Catalogue
Index of Downloadable Statistics Canada Publications
Scan the publications and Cansim time series you have found for relevant tables and text.
Note: Although some of your sources may be secondary (articles from newspapers, journals, The Daily, Canadian Social Trends), you must make use of at least one Statistics Canada online publication and one Cansim time series.
Your report should consist of the following elements.
Overview, introduction, and research question (3–4 paragraphs).
Discussion of major Statistics Canada publications you used in your report (1 page).
Findings, including discussions of tables (3–4 pages).
Conclusion (1–2 paragraphs).
Your tables must relate directly to your question, and you must refer to them and explain them in the text. Number and title the tables and provide them in an appendix.
Provide the most recent statistics relevant to your question that you can find.
You must also provide a list of references using APA style.
Write your report as if you have been selected to do this work by an activist association with an interest in the question. For instance, if you are writing about access to postsecondary education, your audience could be a student organization.
Double-space your work.
Use a 12-point font with one-inch margins all around.
Include a cover page.
Provide page numbers.
Do not write in point form.
Underline or italicize the names of all publications (newspapers, books, magazines).