Formulating a Statistics Question

Questions to Ask Yourself

What individuals, groups, or things do I want statistics for?

  • People, households, businesses, products, etc.

What geographic area/level do I need statistics for?

  • National, provincial, city, CMA, CT, DA.

What time period do I need the statistics to cover?

  • Most current as possible, a time series (e.g. 2006-2016), a specific year, etc.

What is my purpose?

  • To identify a trend, to compare areas or time periods, etc.

Are there specific variables I need to add to my search?

  • French-speaking, post-secondary education, age 18-25, etc.

Examples of statistical questions:

  • How many individuals in Ontario owned a smartphone in 2010?
  • Has the rate of childhood obesity increased in Canada in the past ten years?
  • What is the average wait time for a medical specialist in London?
  • On average, how much do Canadians spend on coffee each year? How does this compare to Americans?