Data Services Frequently Asked Questions

What do you mean by data?

There are two general types of data held by Data Services: microdata; and aggregate data.


are machine-readable survey data that can be imported into a statistical software package (eg. SPSS, SAS) and manipulated for investigation and analysis. They are the raw material out of which social and economic statistics are produced. With these data, the researcher produces the specific tables, graphs or charts necessary for his/her research.

Aggregate data

are raw data that have been organized by the data producer. They may be multidimensional tables, time series, charts or graphs. They may be found in periodicals, monographs or papers, or in electronic form in statistical programs such as Beyond 20/20 and CANSIM.

What are statistics?

"Facts or figures which are often used in studies or reports to make a point. These values tend to be aggregate counts, totals, sums, or averages. In the print world, this type of numerical information is typically found in statistical abstracts, census monographs, and serial publications from Statistics Canada or other government agencies, such as the Bank of Canada. In the digital world this numeric information appears on CD-ROM and similar products with electronic table access, or in electronic journals" (Source: Chuck Humphrey, University of Alberta, 1997).

Who uses data from Data Services?

Faculty, staff and students from the Carleton community have access to our data as long as the data are used for teaching and/or academic research purposes.

No other use is permitted under our licences with the data producers. See our Restrictions on Use for more information.

When should I use Data Services?

When you need to do statistical analysis, for example, to test a hypothesis using existing data files or data bases, or to replicate another researcher's statistical analysis, or simply require data that are not available in printed form.

Similarly, if you have collected data yourself, and have or are going to publish research based on that data, Data Services can assist you in making the data available to other researchers for secondary analysis.

Alternatively, if you have received a SSHRCC grant for research involving the collection of new data, Data Services can assist you to fulfill the deposit requirement in the SSHRCC grant application. Similarly, if you have collected original research data with other grant funding or anyone else, and wish to have your data archived and made available to other researchers, we can provide long-term archival management, as well as dissemination of the data as per your direction (Source: Ruus, 2003).

How do I get data from Data Services?

The first step is to decide which microdata file or aggregate data will best answer your research question.

Once you have determined the data that you need, either email us or come in and see us, and we will either create a subset for you or point you to the appropriate electronic resource.

Which data files are available at Data Services?

We have data from:

  • the Census
  • many Statistics Canada Surveys (eg. The General Social Surveys, the Labour Force Survey, Internet Use Survey, the Canadian Community Health Survey)
  • the International Social Survey Programme
  • different public opinion polls (eg, the Gallup Polls, POLLARA’s Quarterly Reports and the Federal Government’s "Listening to Canadians").

We also have extensive holdings from the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) and have access to Statistics Canada’s CANSIM database.

Where is Data Services located?

  • Data Services staff are on the first floor (Room 122) of the MacOdrum Library (See map).

How do I Cite the Data?

There are various ways the data can be cited. Below is a list of links that will help.

What do the different Social Science terms mean?

Consult this excellent glossary of Social Science Computer and Social Science Data for terms that will help you.

What are the different industry classifications, such as NAICS or SIC?

Statistics Canada has an excellent link for standard industry classifications.

What are the different occupational classifications, such as SOC or ISCO?

Statistics Canada has an excellent link for standard occupational classifications.


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