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This web page is intended to help you find information for Research and Information Literacy unit of URB 670. If you need help, please contact Nina Smart, Liaison Librarian, at 778.782.5043 (Tuesdays and Thursdays) or email@example.com (Monday to Thursday ) or Ask a librarian.
For the Urban Indicators and Urban Survey exercises. All resources directly from Statistics Canada unless otherwise indicated. If you have detailed questions about searching Census resources you can contact Carla Graebner, Research Data Services Librarian and Librarian for Government Information, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A profile provides all data for a geographic area - you may want all of it or just some of it. It shows all variables individually. Start with:
Census Profile, 2021 Census of Population
Search by a place name or geographic code (i.e. a CT's code) from Statistics Canada's website. Covers: provinces and territories, census metropolitan areas, communities and census tract
Canadian Census Analyser (CHASS)
SFU resource: Alternate access to Canadian Census Data. It features census profiles for multiple levels of geography as far back as 1961. Includes 2016 Census Profile Tables
and National Household Survey
If you want to see what geographic areas (i.e. CTs or DAs) are contained and where they are located in a larger level of geography, use these resources:
2021 Census - Census Tract Reference Maps, by Census Metropolitan Areas or Census Agglomerations.
including Vancouver 2016 Statistics Canada, dating as far back as 2001.
For 2016 and older census see Census Tract Reference Maps including Vancouver
Data products, 2021 Census
Data products from previous censuses back to 1996 are at the bottom of the page
Interactive map by Statistics Canada. Search by place name or postal code. Zoom in to display more granular geographic areas (i.e. DAs).
Census Program Data Viewer,(CPDV) (2016, 2021) "a new advanced web based data visualization tool that will make statistical information more interpretable by presenting key indicators in a statistical dashboard. The CPDV makes it easy to find many places in Canada, see them on a map, and get basic geographic and socio-demographic data for those places."
If you want to go back further than the previous Census:
Census datasets search by Statistics Canada
Census data products including profiles dating as far back as 1981. Use the filter from the left column to choose a year.
Canadian Census Analyser (CHASS)
Alternate access to Canadian Census Data - SFU resource. It features census profiles for multiple levels of geography as far back as 1961.
Tips for finding historical Census data:
1) Geography may change over time; for example, a CT may be split into two or more new CTs as population grows. CT splits are usually done in a way that allows users to re-aggregate the splits to the original census tract for historical comparison. Refer to this page for more information. To find older boundary files for geographic areas, use Scholar's Portal. For example, you can find 1996 Census data boundary files (choose Digital Boundary Files- Add- choose the geographic level you want-Add- then you can visualize it on the map).
2) Terminology may change over time, for example, Dissemination Area (DA) replaced Enumeration Area (EA) from 2001. Refer to this page for more information.
Urban Survey Exercise
Research methods resources
Fundamentals of social research [print]
(aka "The Babbie") Classic text on social sciences research
Sage Research Methods Online (SRMO)
A wealth of full-text resources on an immense range of various forms of research including the Methods Map. Examples: "Unobtrusive measures" and "Observation, overt and covert" in: The A-Z of Social Research ; or chapter Planning and Preparing the Analysis in Applied Thematic Analysis
Urban Observation Exercise resources
Urban social listening : potential and pitfalls for using microblogging data in studying cities [online]
"2015-2020" SFU resource for mapping demographic and consumer information, down to the Census Tract or Postal Code area, e.g. 0242.00 or V5R 4G6. Note: Sign in as a guest or create an account. Contains many useful video tutorials
Community Profiles (My Health My Community)
Survey results for BC municipalities and Neighbourhood Profiles in Lower Mainland, including Built Environment (good sidewalks, taking transit, etc.) "updated 2017"
Metro Vancouver Urban Centre Network
2011 Regional City Centre Profiles :"major activity hubs for transportation, employment and housing" Examples: Metrotown, Surrey Metro Centre
BC and other Stats
Note as of 2022: There is no current access, so links below are from the Wayback Machine
2016 Census Total Population Results Census Subdivisions
Down to Census Subdivisions
Open Data from the Census
Neighourhoods for 2011 and earlier - some links not archived
Journal and newspaper article searching
How to effectively search databases:
Power searching section of SFU Catalogue guide; tips apply to databases as well
News and grey literature databases
Newspapers are a good, and sometimes the only, resource for articles on a specific neighbourhood. Examples:
Fulltext of national and local newspapers. Search under Publications for specific papers, such as Burnaby Now
Fulltext articles on Canadian topics, including newspaper articles. Example: "Arbutus Ridge"
Canadian public policy documents from government and nonprofit organizations as well as think tanks
Examples: "Benchmarking Active Transportation in Canadian Cities"
See also Municipal and Local history research section of main Urban studies page
Finding articles on urban issues, patterns, and trends in cities and sometimes neighbourhoods
Available to the SFU community
Human geography, urban planning
Urban planning, public policy
Urban sociology, social policy
Web of Science
indexes major urban studies journals; major citation index. To quote a colleague, "Citation searching is a useful strategy to check to see if a work that is relevant for your research has been cited by anyone else since it was initially published."
Use this link to get SFU journal holdings; has useful Cited By function to find newer articles
Not a journal article database per se, but very useful for searching new or very specific topics:
ProQest Dissertations and Theses Abstracts and Index
"World’s most comprehensive collection of dissertations and theses from around the world"
Particularly useful are the bibliographies and methodologies sections of relevant titles
Image and other online resources
Examples of finding neighbourhood or city information from photographs, social media, etc.:
City of Vancouver Archives Digital Objects
Videos and high resolution images, including Cartographic materials (example: "Kitsilano Beach")
Use "Search the map" to find photos (examples:100 Mile House, or Parks Taken in Burnaby Heights)
for media files (example: "Mount Pleasant" Vancouver)
Finding related hashtags (examples: #cityofvancouver vs. #DeltaBC, or #CambieCorridor - need to subscribe). There's Twingly to "get access to all that social data at your fingertips!"(also need to subscribe)
Finding local services within walking distance of cities and neighourhoods, and local transit rating (examples: Oakridge, Downtown Vancouver)
Keeping track of your research (i.e. citing)
See the Citing and Writing section of the Urban Studies information resources page
See also the Citing guide for Statistics Canada, PCensus, & CHASS data for how to cite Census and related information
Assistance at the library (including GIS)
For Data and GIS questions send a message to email@example.com
Database of tutorials: LinkedIn Learning (LIL)
Online training library of thousands of videos. Examples: "NVivo 2018 Essential Training"; "Excel 2019 Essential Training".
Note: You will need to create a LinkedIn Learning account with your SFU email address
Using SPSS? See the Guide: SPSS: Resources for learning about the software package SPSS Statistics including links to tutorials, tools, and a discussion forum. (Sadly, no one at SFU offers SPSS consultations)