I know at least one class is working on an assignment focused on the current federal election, and I suspect there may be others. I thought it might be fun to reproduce some of the research tips my colleagues and I found when we were creating a research guide focused on millennial voters.
Where can I learn about millennial consumers/voters in particular?
- Think broadly!
- Consider whether information on Millennials in other countries (esp. the USA) is relevant to Canada.
- Also consider whether resources that talk about Millennials in general (buying habits, how to market to them, media usage patterns, etc.) might help you understand them as voters.
- And perhaps sources that talk about voters in general will include a breakdown of their results by age, yet not mention terms like Millennial or Gen Y anywhere. (E.g., look in Ipsos News Centre for the Detailed Tables within the report titled "Duffy’s Revenge".)
- Books & eBooks
- Start with this broad search, then click on Modify Search and add terms to focus your results. You should end up resources such as this book that manages to use the word "Muggles" in the title.
- Journal articles
- Start with the databases such as Political Science Complete, Communication & Mass Media Complete, and Sociological Abstracts. Try terms such as Generation Y, Gen Y or Millennials in combination with terms such as voter, voting, elect*, or politic*. (The asterisk [*] will truncate a search term and look for all possible endings, so elect* will find elector, electoral, election, elect, electing, etc.)
- News articles
- Try Canadian Newsstand to start (sample search), but also try Factiva and LexisNexis using search terms such as (millennial and (voter or election or political)).
- Remember that news articles often quote information from deeper sources. Always follow such clues to the original and most comprehensive sources! For example, the Toronto Star has an article with the title "Canadian millennials estranged from politicians, study shows" that mentions it got its data from something called the Millennial Dialogue Report. A quick Google search, and you can be reading the full report by the Broadbent Institute.
- Other sources?
- For US Millennials, start with Pew Research. Or perhaps try Canadian polling firms such as Environics Canada who produce a fun Meet the Millennials interactive guide.
- Just published this morning (Oct. 7th): a study by Statistics Canada on young voters: Insights on Canadian Society – Political participation and civic engagement of youth.
Where can I find information on Canadian voters in general?
- Start with the Poll Tracker site from CBC News. Be sure to scroll down and click on the names of the polls to get more detailed results. Some of them will provide breakdowns of responses to each question by age, region, income, sex, etc.
- Search the news: Canadian Newsstand is a database that pulls together news stories from many newspapers from across Canada. Try including terms such as survey or poll in your search.
- Ipsos News Centre: Reports (with methodology and data tables in most cases) on consumer (and voter!) preferences and opinions. Strong Canadian focus. Sadly, the search function isn't very strong. Try choosing Politics (Federal), then browse recent surveys or do a basic search.
- Government of Canada: Take a look at resources from Elections Canada and resources from Statistics Canada. (e.g., their "Civic engagement and political participation in Canada" analysis article).
- The Canadian Public Policy Collection pulls together policy documents from across the country and from many different organizations and institutes. Try a simple search such as: voters AND "federal elections." It's unlikely that most of the reports you find will be about our current election, but they still might give you some useful background information.
Finally, to take a step away from studying to action... did you know that there are pop-up polling stations in both the AQ and WMX today and tomorrow? See President Petter's blog post and the Elections Canada page for details.