Formulating a Statistics Question

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?


Once you know what you need, use this guide or visit Research & Data Services for help in finding specific resources.