Centre interuniversitaire québécois de statistiques sociales (CIQSS)
CIQSS – QICSS
Quebec Inter–University Centre for Social Statistics
- - Which data are available at QICSS ?
- - Is it possible to access data sets not listed on the QICSS website ?
Yes. The website mainly lists Statistics Canada data sets currently in use in Canadian Research Data Centre Network laboratories. RDCs should be able to provide access to microdata from any Statistics Canada survey conducted on individuals and households, so do not hesitate to ask about surveys even if they are not listed.
- - How do you ensure confidential data is kept secure ?
The data sets, which do not include identifying information such as names, addresses and telephone numbers, must be used in accordance with the contract signed by the researcher for Statistics Canada or the Institut de statistique du Québec in an environment that complies with their confidentiality policies.
QICSS laboratory are, in essence, extensions of the offices of Statistics Canada and the Institut de la statistique du Québec. An employee of these agencies is on site to vet research output and ensure compliance with confidentiality policies and procedures. RDCs must follow the same security measures as those agencies, including monitored entries and exits and autonomous workstations with no external ports or network access.
- - Where can I learn more on the ethics review process ?
Any research conducted by students or faculty involving human participants is subject to an ethics review process. For more information, please click here.
- - What are the work environments at the laboratories ?
Our workstations are equipped with AMD 3500+ processors, with 2GB of RAM and dual 17'' LCD monitors. Researchers at the Université de Montréal RDC, the McGill-Concordia and UQAM-INRS branches also have at their disposal powerful state-of-the-art compute servers for advanced statistical analysis. For a list of available software, please click here.
- - What is the procedure to get access to microdata ?
Students and researchers from Quebec universities, non-governmental organisations (NGO), and government departments and agencies can request access to microdata. The procedure can vary depending on institutional affiliation. For more information on the procedure for Statistics Canada, please click here, for the Institut de la statistique du Québec, please click here.
- - Why do researchers have to submit a proposal and sign a contract?
Under the Statistic Laws, Statistics Canada and the Institut de la statistique du Québec must meet these requirements before providing access to detailed (and therefore confidential) microdata.
Before gaining access to the data, researchers must enter into a contract to be deemed employees of Statistics Canada or the Institut de la statistique du Québec, compelling them not to disclose any information that could make it possible to relate the particulars to any identifiable individual. The contract also states that a product or service must be rendered in exchange for data access. That product (graduate thesis, article, report, etc.) must be submitted at the end of the contract.
For projects using Statistics Canada data, the product and scope of the project must be outlined in a proposal to be appended to the contract. In terms of academic procedure, submitting a proposal for peer review is common practice in the social sciences. In terms of ethics, for Statistics Canada survey respondents, the proposal is a way to ensure that their information will only be used for legitimate research to gain a better understanding of Canadian society.
For projects using Institut de la statistique du Québec data, the research proposal must meet the principles and requirements for the protection of personal and confidential information outlined in the Institut de la statistique du Québec Access to Survey and Administrative Microdata Policy. A proposal is necessary to assess whether those requirements are met, and must be appended to the contract between the researcher and the Institut.
- - How are projects assessed and approved ?
The approval process is overseen by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). Projects are assessed by two academic researchers in relevant fields and one Statistics Canada expert. Approval is based on the following criteria:
- Scientific merit and feasibility of the project;
- Relevance of the methodology based on the objectives of the project and the data to be analysed;
- Justification of the need for detailed microdata;
- Researchers' expertise and capacity to conduct the research, based on their curriculum vitae and contributions to the field.
Projects that already underwent peer review by a recognized granting agency and graduate thesis projects only require approval from Statistics Canada.
Institut de la statistique du Québec:
Projects are submitted to a committee of the Institut de la statistique du Québec, which assesses them based on feasibility, ethics and confidentiality. This committee meets every month, and decisions are communicated the same day.
- - Can I get funding for my project ?
In order to promote the use of available microdata to graduate students, the QICSS provides matching grants for Master's and Ph.D. projects. Each year, a dozen grants are offered to students in the 7 universities member of the QICSS network, in the amount of $4,000 for Master's students and $6,000 for Ph.D. students. The terms and conditions are posted in the What's New section of the website during the call for applications. For more information, please click here.
- - Can I request access to more than one RDC or QICSS branch ?
A researcher can work from more than one RDC or branch in the course of a project. However, for administrative purposes, one centre must be designated as the main research site.
- - How can I change the terms of my contract ?
Please contact your RDC Analyst before any changes to your contract.
An amendment can be made to the contract to add or remove members of a research team or to add a data set without having to submit a new proposal with approval from your RDC Analyst, who can provide more information on the procedure.
To transfer a project to another RDC or branch, please ask your RDC Analyst.
You can also be granted a contract extension to get more time to complete your data analysis. However, researchers from government agencies cannot be granted more than one extension, which cannot exceed one year.
- - What product do I need to submit at the end of my contract ?
To satisfy their contract obligations to Statistics Canada or the Institut de la statistique du Québec, researchers must submit a final research product, which can take the form of an article submitted for publication, a Master's or Doctorate thesis, a report for a third party, etc.
- - Why should I inform the QICSS of all products from my research ?
In an effort to facilitate knowledge transfer, the QICSS can help disseminate findings arising from the analysis of microdata through various activities (seminars, conferences, panels) organized by the QICSS or its affiliates. Furthermore, information on the scientific progress achieved by researchers at the QICSS is vital to get the funding needed for maintenance and development of new services for researchers.