RDC Frequently Asked Questions
1.  How can I learn more about Research Data Centres?
Go to the Statistics Canada web site for the Research Data Centres Program. You will find information about how to write a proposal, the approvals process, the kinds of data available and examples of projects that have been conducted at the RDCs across the country.


2.  I think I want to use the National Population Health Survey or the Canadian Community Health Survey, but how can I find out more about the data?
The Statistics Canada website has brief introductions to the various data sources available through the RDCs. For those surveys, such as the earlier cycles of the NPHS, that have public use microdata files, there is no substitute for getting a copy of the public use files, and exploring them. We have access to public use data through the Data Liberation Initiative.

Gary Strike is the data librarian at the University of Manitoba's Dafoe Library (Fort Garry campus) who can facilitate access. You can find out more about public use data on the U of M Libraries webpage, or email Gary Strike to find out how to arrange to get your own copy to take home and work with.



3.  I've explored the public use data and I think I have a project that the data will support. What do I do now?
The Research Analyst can talk to you about whether your project is appropriate for the RDC, and help you write a proposal to gain approval. The Analyst's telephone number is (204) 789-3293 and email address is manitoba.rdc@med.umanitoba.ca

       Here are some guidelines to help you decide between RDC and DLI data.  Access to each depends on the research subject and methodology used:

Data Liberation Initiative (DLI)

Research Data Centres (RDCs)

Postsecondary academic staff and students Researcher with accepted proposal
Restricted to teaching and research purposes

SSHRC peer review and deemed Statistics Canada employee status

Standard data products such as:
  • public-use microdata files from the Canadian Community Health Survey, the General Social Survey and the Household Internet Survey
  • databases such as the Social Policy Simulation Database and Model and the Inter-Corporate Ownership
  • census standard products
  • aggregated data on subjects such as justice and education
  • geography products

Cross-sectional and longitudinal detailed microdata files from population and household surveys such as:

  • the National Population Health Survey
  • the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth
  • the General Social Survey
  • the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics


4.  What do you mean "whether my project is appropriate"?
If you can complete your project using public use (DLI) data, then the project will not be approved. Any study that requires a longitudinal methodology, where the same people are followed in more than one time period, requires RDC access. The public use files often suppress particular variables that your project may require, such as geographic variables.


5.  Will the Research Analyst be able to help me with my methodology?
The Analyst will be able to tell you about the data, but is not a statistical consultant. RDC Analysts can talk to you about what methods might be appropriate for the data you want to use, but specific questions about statistical modeling or software packages should be referred to your statistical consulting unit.


6.  Speaking of software packages...?
We currently have SAS, SPSS, STATA,  SUDDAN, Lisrel, HLM, StatTransfer and WesVar available for use, along with Microsoft Office. If you require different or additional software, we will decide on a case-by-case basis whether the RDC will purchase a license for the software and install it permanently, or whether you will be asked to provide your own (licensed) software.

We expect to make available packages that are likely to be used by many people, but we will add these packages as projects are approved.



7.  Anything else I should know?
Just keep in mind 3 steps:

i) Think about your project in general terms, and find out as much as you can about the data through the Statcan website and the Data Liberation Initiative (DLI);

ii) Talk to the RDC Analyst early in your proposal-writing stage. This can save you a lot of time; and,

iii) Submit your proposal to SSHRC four to eight weeks BEFORE you want to begin to work.