2016 Census Program Content Test: Design and Results
From May 2 to June 30, 2014, Statistics Canada conducted the 2016 Census Program Content Test, which included the mandatory census questionnaire (2A) and the combined census and National Household Survey questionnaire (N1),Note 1 both of which could be used in the next cycle. A total of five tests helped test different aspects of the 2016 Census Program. At Statistics Canada, these tests are referred to as “Behaviour Tests” and correspond to the acronym “BT.” Tests 1 and 4, i.e., BT1 and BT4, helped test the communication material; tests BT3 and BT5 focused on field operations and the BT2 helped test proposed content options of the 2016 Census Program. The reference date for the BT2 test was May 13, 2014.
This report presents the Content Test objectives, the design and the summary of this analysis to determine potential content determination. Results from the data analysis of the test are not the only elements used to determine the content for 2016. Several other elements were considered to determine the content, such as response burden, comparability over time in terms of estimates and counts, and user needs.
Changes were proposed to the content for 2016 compared to the 2011 Census and the 2011 NHS. These changes were considered based on the following elements:
- the needs expressed by various census data user partners during consultations conducted in the fall of 2012
- the operational and budgetary requirements of the Census Program
- the compliance with normative frameworks recently adopted by the agency to standardize collection tools and reduce household response burden
- the results from various qualitative tests conducted before the Content Test, between May 2013 and January 2014.
All changes to the content have been thoroughly assessed in terms of the impact on the quality of responses obtained. Taking into account all the proposed changes, two key objectives were defined for the Content Test.
Objective no. 1: validate the proposed changes to the content concerning:
- the wording of questions and instructions on answering them
- proposed response options
- the structure of the census questionnaire and the NHS questionnaire
- the paper questionnaire
- the paper format of questionnaires
- the electronic format of questionnaires and the application functionalities.
Objective no. 2: measure the impact of including the social insurance number (SIN) question on the data quality, the collection operations and the possible matches with other administrative files.
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