Questions and Answers for Survey Participants
Q: HOW DID YOU GET MY TELEPHONE NUMBER?
A: We did not get your telephone number out of the telephone directory - the telephone numbers that we call are randomly generated by a computer. The computer creates a series of ten-digit numbers for us to call and, as a result, we have no idea who we are calling. Sometimes we reach businesses, unlisted numbers, numbers that are not in service, or even pay phones! We generate telephone numbers in this way to make sure the people we call are a random sample of the population and also to protect the confidentiality of people we interview.
Q: WILL ANYONE ELSE SEE MY ANSWERS?
A: No. We can assure you that all of the information you provide, including your answers and any other information, will remain completely confidential. Only researchers closely involved with the project examine the findings and they do not look at individual responses but rather group responses, for example, what percentage of people agreed or disagreed with a particular statement. Participants' names are never included when the results of the study are released so there is no way that you would be identified as a participant in the study.
Q: HOW DID YOU GET MY FIRST NAME?
A: Your telephone number was called earlier and, with the help of someone who lives in your household, you were randomly selected to do the interview as you are the adult in the household who will have the next birthday. The person we spoke with in your household gave us your first name because you were not available when we called.
Q: WHY DO YOU WANT MY NAME IF IT'S CONFIDENTIAL?
A: We do not need your full name - just your first name will do, or even your initial. This helps us to keep track of people during the random selection process we use. If the person selected cannot do the study right then, we can call back at a more convenient time and having their first name, or at least their initial, makes it easier and a bit more polite when we call back.
Q: WHY DO YOU NEED TO KNOW THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE IN THE HOUSEHOLD, ETC. ?
A: Asking for the number of people in the household helps us to make sure that the people we are interviewing have the same background characteristics as the general population. For example, by showing that our sample has a similar proportion of households of varying sizes as is found in the general population, we can then say that our sample is representative of the population.
Q: WHY DO YOU ASK ABOUT THE PERSON WHO WILL HAVE THE NEXT BIRTHDAY IN OUR HOUSEHOLD?
A: In order for our survey to be truly random, we cannot just speak with the first person who answers the telephone. If we did, this would not be an accurate, scientific cross-section of the population. By asking to interview the person who will have the next birthday, we give everyone an equal chance to be selected since anyone living in the household might have the next birthday.
Q: WHY TALK TO ME, I DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THIS TOPIC?
A: We are just trying to get a sense of people's experiences and opinions so there are no right or wrong answers. You do not have to answer any questions you do not want to but your opinions are very important to us. We think that you will find that the questions are straightforward and most of them have multiple choice answers.
Q: WHAT GOOD WILL THIS DO?
A: Participating in studies like this gives Canadians the opportunity to express their opinions about important issues in their lives, and their participation adds to our knowledge about topics of interest to Canadians. Government leaders and other decision-makers make use of findings from these kinds of studies in their decision-making processes - these results help them to develop policies that are informed by the opinions and experiences of average Canadians.
Q: HAS THIS STUDY BEEN APPROVED?
A: Yes, all studies that we conduct have been reviewed and approved by the Research Ethics Committee at York University. The telephone number to reach the Secretary of the Committee is 416-736-5914.
Q: WHEN WILL THE RESULTS BE AVAILABLE?
A: Normally results from our studies are available approximately one year after the completion of the study, but we can give you the name of a contact person if you would like information before then, or have other questions for them.
Q: WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE STUDY?
A: For more information on a particular study, click on Current Projects in the index to the left. To contact a Project Manager or someone else at ISR, click on About Us and then select Personnel or Contact Information.
To verify a study, please call our telephone lab (toll-free) at
1-888-847-0148. In Toronto, please dial 416-736-5393.