Statistics Canada is the federal government’s main primary research organisation. It keeps tabs on many aspects of Canadian life, including the economy, resources and, of course, the population. It is an incredible source of market or industry data and analysis. All for free, but only a small portion is indexed by Google.
According to StatCan:
In addition to conducting a Census every five years, there are about 350 active surveys on virtually all aspects of Canadian life. Objective statistical information is vital to an open and democratic society. It provides a solid foundation for informed decisions by elected representatives, businesses, unions and non-profit organizations, as well as individual Canadians. As a member of the United Nations Statistical Commission, Statistics Canada endorses the Fundamental principles of official statistics.
That last point is important: official statistical agencies strive to produce certain aggregate datasets that are comparable between countries. This. in turn, allows market data provides, such as Euromonitor, to develop market research solutions based on trusted sources. More about Euromonitor and its Passport database on Concordia University Library’s Business Research Portal. It also means that if you understand Statistics Canada, you will probably understand how to use EuroStat, the American Census, as well as OECD iLibrary (for countries that are part of this intergovernmental agency) or the United Nation’s Data portal.
Although most of Statistic Canada’s reports and aggregate datasets are available on its Internet site, only a small proportion is indexed by Google. In that sense, you have to learn how to navigate its website to make good use of this source as a market research tool.
One of Statistic Canada’s most important program is the quinquennial census: every 5 years, census officers perform a complete head-count of everyone in Canada. This is not a survey because they do not employ statistical significant samples of the population. Everyone answers “the short form” questionnaire, covering basic demographic statistics. In addition, every fifth household must answer “the long form” questionnaire, digging much deeper in demographic detail: income, education, labour… the census is an absolutely indispensable market research source.
Another interesting tool is the Census Profile of a place in Canada. This gives you the profile of a specific place in the country. Have some fun: get the Census Profile of your own postal code and get a sense of the demographic makeup of your neighborhood… this video will explain how:
The third and last section of the Statistic Canada website is the Data Portal. This is where you can generate custom data tables from the 350 other survey programs maintained by Statistics Canada. Here is a short video explaining how to use it, particularly using the Household Spending by income Quintiles by Province (my favorite data table for marketing research).
I hope you now get a sense of how Statistics Canada offers extensive marketing research opportunities for those capable of navigating its website. This is one of the examples of a hidden website on the free web, whereby Google will be most useless to assist you.
Some sources are available to all on the Internet, others are licensed by Concordia University’s Library for students, faculty and staff of our organization. You will require your credentials (e.g. Netname) to access library licenses databases. To browse all databases recommended for students at the John Molson School of Business at Concordia University, please access the Business Research Portal on the library website.
For each of the headings below, we provide the name of a source, also called databases, as well as a clickable link to access its content. Should you be prompted for your NetName, please provide it to log on.
And, yeah, you need to visit and use of all these sources. Yes way. For real… No, I’m not kidding. Using better sources will increase the quality of your paper. These are the best sources out there. You should have a really great bibliography…
OECD is the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. This system contains all OECD publications, as well as those from: International Energy Agency (IEA), Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), OECD Development Centre, PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment), and International Transport Forum (ITF) since 1998.
The OECD is a an association of governments mostly from affluent countries.
Every year or so, the OECD produces a comprehensive report on the economies of member states (e.g. countries who are part of the OECD). If your target country is a member of the OECD, or if member states asked for such a report, make sure you search for:
economic survey <country-name-here>
Make sure you browse for other publications and dataset from this system, it contains information on many countries.
Make sure you use the “full version” of this system by clicking on the link above. The version on the “free web” does not provide enough insight to be useful.
Free website by the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States of America. This is what they want us to know that they know about the world. We can neither confirm nor infirm that they know more, but they probably do. Incredible amount of detail for every country.
As Douglas Adams points out in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, backpackers know their way around the universe. Looking at travel websites and guides can provide insight and evidence useful for business. This is the free website of a specific series of travel guides. There are others out there. Your local public library may have more.
To focus your search, use the link in the heading for this section to
Search only articles on your country of choice from a single publication, in this case: The Economist, the reputed and long-running weekly British news magazine. Yeah, just type your country’s name in the search box and… voilà!
Sort by publication date: this will give you a run-down of the salient news.