Since 1999, the Survey Research Centre has conducted hundreds of telephone, web, mail and face to face surveys on behalf of academic and institutional researchers. We have developed expertise in conducting survey research projects from straight forward program evaluation studies to more complex, highly specialized studies. Some of our recent and current projects are highlighted below.
Academic sector projects
Public and Private sector projects
The International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation (ITC) Project (www.itcproject.org) is the first international research program for the systematic evaluation of key policies of the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) at the population level. The ITC Project is conducting longitudinal cohort surveys in more than 28 countries and includes over 150 tobacco control collaborators from around the world.
The ITC Project was founded by Chief Principal Investigator Dr. Geoffrey T. Fong at the University of Waterloo, and began with the first wave of the ITC Four Country (4C) Survey in Australia, Canada, the US, and the UK in 2002. The Survey Research Centre has been a key contributor to the ITC Project during the ITC 4C Survey’s transition from computer-assisted telephone surveys to interactive web surveys, a transition necessitated by the increasing challenges in conducting telephone surveys for this study. (2009 - present)
In January 2015, the Province of Ontario passed legislation legalizing online gambling. A longitudinal study to examine the impact of this legislation on gambling behaviour was conducted by the Survey Research Centre, University of Waterloo, on behalf of Dr. Robert Williams, University of Lethbridge, and the Alberta Gambling Research Institute. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the impact of legalization of online gambling on gambling behaviour, particularly online gambling behaviour.
Population prevalence studies of gambling serve several important purposes. They establish the current overall prevalence of gambling, the prevalence of each form of gambling, personal expenditures on each form of gambling, and the prevalence of problem gambling1. This information is very useful in understanding the overall recreational value of gambling to society, the negative social impacts of providing legalized gambling, the actual number of problem gamblers in need of treatment, the proportion of gambling revenue derived from problem gamblers, and the types of gambling most strongly associated with problem gambling. Changes in the prevalence of problem gambling from one time period to the next, and/or differences between the prevalence in one jurisdiction relative to another, provide important information about the incidence of problem gambling and the potential effectiveness of policies implemented to mitigate gambling’s harm (Volberg, 2007; Williams & Volberg, 2012).
Three waves of survey data collection were conducted: fall 2012, fall 2013, and winter 2016. In order to maintain consistency, the questionnaire perfected in the Best Practices in Problem Gambling research was used in order to compare the prevalence rates to other types of gambling that were researched in previous iterations of that study. The questionnaire was presented as a “health and recreational activities” survey to potential participants in order to more accurately measure gambling activity, as opposed to presenting the survey as a ‘gambling study’ which typically results in over-representation of problem gamblers.
For the 2012 and 2013 waves of the Internet Gambling Prevalence in Ontario study, data were collected from members of an online panel group. Across the two waves n=3,622 respondents were recruited. These 3,622 respondents were re-invited to complete the survey in 2016. A total of 1,589 surveys were completed in 2016; 73.4% of the surveys completed in 2016 were returning respondents from the previous 2013 wave and 26.6% were from the 2012 wave. The sample represented Ontario residents age 18 years or older.
In 2016 telephone recruitment also took place, contacting new respondents to ensure better representativeness, compared to focussing solely on online panel participants. A total of 44,236 telephone records, including both cell phone and landline numbers, were attempted, with 1,501 telephone surveys completed. (2012, 2013, 2016)
The researcher, Dr. John Hirdes, is a member of interRAI, a collaborative network of researchers in over 30 countries committed to improving health care for vulnerable persons with complex needs, include frail older persons and their caregivers.
With an aging population, there is a push towards aging at home. The majority of older adults living in the community will be cared for in a primary care setting. interRAI has identified a need for tools to distinguish healthier individuals from those in a frailer, more vulnerable state who may benefit from more comprehensive assessment and care. In order to increase the feasibility and acceptability of interRAI assessment tools in community settings, a pilot study was developed to assess self-report questions for older adults in primary care. Other objectives of the pilot study were to establish rates of health measures for adults of all ages within the general population rather than within clinical populations and to establish rates of health measures in adults identifying as informal care providers. The Survey Research Centre provided survey design consultation as well as data collection for this project. A Random Digit Dialing (RDD) telephone approach was used for this research targeting adults within the Waterloo region who are aged 18+, with an oversample of persons aged 65+. (2017)
The School of Accounting and Finance, University of Waterloo, has determined that information about the employment and professional development outcomes of graduates is important to those making decisions about post-secondary education. To obtain this information, business schools in Canada and the U.S. are surveying their graduates. The School of Accounting and Finance offers programs that compete for candidates with these schools, but does not have comparable data to share with candidates as a way to promote that their experiential approach to learning produces work-ready graduates. Data collected will allow the researchers to understand the career entry decisions made by graduates, inform programming decisions and support student recruitment. The Survey Research Centre provided survey design and sampling consultation, as well as online and telephone data collection for this project. Telephone reminders were employed to achieve the best possible survey response rate. (2017)
To assist with recruitment and marketing of graduate studies programs, the University of Waterloo Graduate Studies Office has developed an on-line survey for students who accept or decline offers of admission to the UW On-site or Online graduate programs. First conducted in 2014, this survey was being conducted annually over a three-year time period. (2014 - 2016)
SCAALAR and SPAACE to SPAACE were the first national population-based surveys on the prevalence, perceptions, and experiences of food allergies in Canada. Study findings informed the development of food allergy labeling legislation in Canada. There is general concern that food allergies are becoming an epidemic. Researchers from the University of Waterloo and the University of Calgary employed the Survey Research Centre to conduct a large scale, national follow-up telephone survey to determine if any changes in prevalence, perceptions, and experiences have occurred over the past five years. For more information on this survey or the results, please contact Dr. Susan Elliott at firstname.lastname@example.org. (2016-2017)
The purpose of the study is to evaluate and monitor the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing's (CEMC) Think About Math (TAM) and Computer Science For Young Women (CSG) outreach programs offered through the University of Waterloo each May and June to high school aged girls. Five cohorts of workshop attendees were first surveyed the year they attended the respective workshop and then follow-up surveys were administered with each cohort five years after attending the workshops. (2010-present)
The Canadian Safety and Security Program (CSSP) and researchers at the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University were interested in identifying and documenting the workforce profile, demographics and health and wellness of Canadian paramedics and other emergency medical responders. Mixed-mode methodology was employed. An online survey link was emailed, and paper surveys with a pre-paid return envelope were mailed, to numerous paramedic work locations across Canada. A snowballing approach was implemented by the research team for the online survey recruitment. A link to the online survey was provided in the mailed paper survey package and in targeted communication vehicles such as the Paramedic Association of Canada e-newsletter and through email campaigns to the Paramedic Chiefs. The Survey Research Centre (SRC) provided consulting services on the survey methodology used, and was responsible for hosting and data collection for the online survey and for data entry of the returned mailed surveys. The online survey was launched in May 2016 and remained open for approximately 9 weeks, closing in August 2016. Data collection for this first ever, comprehensive research of Canadian paramedics and emergency medical responders resulted in over 2,500 completed surveys. (2016)
Researchers from the Statistics and Actuarial Science department at the University of Waterloo were interested in studying financial retirement expectations and experiences of Canadians. The objective of the study was to develop a better understanding of the concerns and risk preferences of individuals who are either close to retirement, or who are already retired. Data collected will allow the researchers to assess whether the retirement income plans offered by insurance companies, or provided through occupational pension plans, are adequately meeting the needs of retirees. The research was partially funded by the Canadian Institute of Actuaries. The Survey Research Centre provided survey design and sampling consultation, as well as data collection for this project. An online survey was conducted among Ontario respondents aged 50 to 80 who self-identified as either pre-retired or retired. An online panel firm was used for participant recruitment. The online survey was launched in September 2016 and remained open for 3 weeks, closing in October 2016. The goal of 1,000 completed surveys was successfully reached. (2016)
The Healthy Weights Connection is an intervention aimed at promoting healthy weights and preventing obesity among Indigenous children in Canada, funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Innovation Strategy (2013–17). The theory of the intervention is that by promoting better cooperation and resource sharing among the various organizations whose activities may affect the risk of obesity among Aboriginal children, local public health systems will be better able to provide culturally-appropriate programming. The intervention consists of providing a community health worker to work at building opportunities for collaboration among local Indigenous-specific and “mainstream” organizations, as well as a website, newsletters, and other knowledge-exchange activities. An online survey of these organizations was administered as part of the project evaluation plan to measure changes in the degree to which institutions in the local public health system serve Indigenous children and youth in the community, and the amount of collaboration and coordination among them. Data collection for this University of Waterloo online organization survey occurred in 2014. An online follow-up survey was conducted in 2017. (2014 - 2017)
The purpose of this McGill university research was twofold; first, the researchers were trying to understand the ways in which societal/environmental conditions in the home, school and community impact children’s body weight, Body Mass Index (BMI) and healthy living-related behavior. The second purpose was to explore how biological (i.e. genetic and cognitive) differences impact the way children respond to these societal/environmental conditions. The focus was specifically on children between the ages of 6-12 living in the greater Montreal area, with the primary data being collected from the parent/guardian who is most familiar with the eating and physical activity habits of the child. A follow up recruitment wave was undertaken in 2016. (2013, 2016)
Dr. Sarah Burch of the Department of Geography and Environmental Management at the University of Waterloo is studying small and medium sized businesses with regard to their role in fostering the wellbeing of communities and their potential to create significant technical and social innovation. The objectives of the GATE study are to better understand the barriers and opportunities that these businesses face in adopting and implementing more sustainable business practices. A total of 1,735 online surveys were completed among small and medium sized businesses in Toronto, Vancouver, and London (UK). The sampling frame of small and medium sized businesses was compiled through publicly available records and through purchased lists. The sampling frame for Vancouver businesses also included members from a panel firm. The survey was conducted from May 2017 to August 2017.
Dr. Sarah Wilkins-Laflamme from the University of Waterloo as well as principal investigator Dr. Paul Bramadat and his research team at the University of Victoria are studying the new realities and trends of the Cascadian religious and spiritual landscape. Cascadia is a bioregion located mainly in British Columbia and the U.S. states of Washington and Oregon. The research group’s specific focus is the differences between the Canadian and U.S. Cascadian regions regarding religious/spiritual beliefs and practices; inclusivity of religious minorities; and the impact in the public sphere and on social policy. Quotas were put in place for region (Canada and U.S.), gender and age group. A total of 1,510 surveys were completed online by members of an online panel group. The study was conducted in October 2017.
The University of Waterloo is undertaking a revision of Policy 33, Ethical Behaviour. The SRC collected survey data among the university community in an effort to provide a better understanding of the university work environment with respect to human rights and ethical behaviour. The research will also inform the university about the allocation of support resources for individuals experiencing difficulty in the workplace. The survey launched in October 2017 and was administered both online and on paper to undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty and staff. (2017-2018)
The purpose of this study is to determine the efficacy of smoking cessation programs that involve mass distribution of nicotine replacement therapy. The study was designed as a single-blinded panel survey with random assignment to an experimental or control condition and involved two stages of recruitment and three telephone interviews. Households across Canada were contacted using a random digit dialing approach. Eligible respondents over the age of 18 were screened and recruited to either an experimental or control group, with those in the experimental group receiving a free five week supply of nicotine patches. Eligible respondents in both groups were also asked to provide a saliva sample. Follow-up interviews were then scheduled to take place eight weeks, six months and five years after completing the initial survey. (2012 - present)
Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) is conducting a comprehensive survey of over 18,000 MNO citizens. The MNO is committed to a family-centred approach for service delivery for the Métis Nation in Ontario. A key component of such an approach is the ongoing assessment of broader well-being of MNO citizens and their families throughout Ontario, to better understand their service needs and to help tailor programming and services going forward. The MNO household survey is being administered online or by telephone in an effort to connect and collect information from as many MNO citizens as possible. The Survey Research Centre (SRC) is working closely with the MNO lead researchers to develop and implement the overall methodology and to provide survey research design expertise and consultation throughout. The SRC is also managing all online and telephone survey data collection on behalf of MNO. (2017 - 2018)
Cancer Care Ontario (CCO) is developing a Comprehensive Workplace Health Promotion (CWHP) program to improve the health of its employees. As part of a situational assessment, an on-line baseline survey was administered to employees to learn more about their health (e.g. physical activity, smoking, fruit and vegetable intake, alcohol consumption, and mental health/stress) and their interest in various workplace health programs. To assess changes in knowledge and behaviour, two follow up online survey waves were implemented after the baseline survey. (2014 - present)
Legalization of Online Gambling in Canada survey (telephone survey) - Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)
Dr. Tara Elton-Marshall, from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), is examining the possible shifts in attitudes and behaviours associated with legislation changes for online gambling. This research will help inform the development of online gambling and problem gambling prevention programming in schools in Ontario. The SRC provided survey design and telephone data collection services for this longitudinal study. Baseline Random Digit Dialed (RDD) telephone survey research was conducted in 2013. Two follow-up re-contact and replenishment waves were administered in 2015-2016 and 2017-2018 following legislation changes and the launch of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) online gambling website. Telephone fieldwork for the latest wave occurred from October 2017 through to March 2018. (2014 - present)
Grand River Hospital (GRH), a 567 bed hospital serving 700,000 people in the Waterloo Wellington Region of Southwestern Ontario, has identified a need to more fully understand their patients’ experience with hospital care. They are interested in developing a ‘best practice’ methodological approach to collecting patient experience data that produces actionable results. GRH previously participated in a province - wide patient experience survey; however there were opportunities for a greater number of responses. A separate pilot study with data collection conducted by the Survey Research Centre was conducted to assess whether a different methodological approach would produce better outcomes.
Three patient groups were considered for the pilot study: emergency, surgery inpatient, and medicine. Surveys were conducted by telephone with emergency patients shortly after discharge from the hospital , and on-site surveys were administered with surgery inpatient and medicine patients prior to their discharge from the hospital. Further to the pilot study, Grand River Hospital has maintained the post discharge telephone approach in the emergency department using the Survey Research Centre and expanded the face-to-face approach to include eight additional clinical programs. (2013 - 2018)