General Social Survey - Social Engagement (GSS)
Summary of changes
Activity on this program started: 2003 reference period
There are many new elements to the GSS for 2020. Among these, the survey frame has changed from the previous telephone-based frame to an address-based frame, called the Dwelling Universe Frame (DUF). Furthermore, question wording and answer categories of some core content was modified to accommodate new standards for electronic questionnaires.
The 2020 GSS on Social Identity offered an Internet option to almost all survey respondents. By having both telephone and Internet modes of data collection, the 2020 GSS offered survey respondents greater flexibility and convenience in providing key and vital information to Statistics Canada. It is important to point out that any significant change in survey methodology can affect the comparability of the data over time. It is impossible to determine with certainty whether, and to what extent, differences in a variable are attributable to an actual change in the population or to changes in the survey methodology. However, there are reasons to believe that the use of an electronic questionnaire might have an impact on the estimations. The impact of the collection mode on the estimates has been analysed and the magnitude of the impact is mild and present primarily for questions that are subject to social desirability such as how many people are trusted in the neighbourhood, trust in police officers, confidence in police institutions, experiences of discrimination. For variables where social desirability may not play a role, minimal or no mode effect was identified.
Like other GSS cycles, trend monitoring is an important component of the 2020 GSS on Social Identity. Analysts can count on the same concepts and high level indicators of social identity to make comparisons between Cycle 35 on Social Identity and earlier cycles on the same topic. Trend monitoring should be done with caution when analysing topics subject to social desirability.
Sampling - In 2013, the survey was implemented using the newly redesigned GSS frame, which integrates data from sources of telephone numbers (landline and cellular) available to Statistics Canada and the Address Register (AR). This new frame includes "cell phone only" households. Our sampling unit is also different in 2013 where it is now defined as groupings of telephone numbers linked to the same address.
Estimation - The use of a new sampling frame and a new definition of our sampling unit have led to a new weighting strategy for the 2013 GSS SI. Also, bootstrap weights have been changed from mean bootstrap to standard bootstrap weights.
The purpose of Cycle 22 is to collect data on social networks, and social and civic participation. Information is also collected on major changes in respondents' lives and the resources they used and needed during these transitions.
This is the first time that Statistics Canada has assembled questions on social participation, civic participation, trust and reciprocity into one national survey on social engagement. Data from this cycle complement other Statistics Canada surveys, particularly the National Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating (NSGVP), which asks questions about Canadian contributory behaviour, including giving, volunteering and participating; the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) and National Population Health Survey (NPHS), which include questions on social support and well-being; the Ethnic Diversity Survey (EDS), which asks questions on social participation, voting and levels of social contact; the Participation and Activity Limitation Survey (PALS), which includes questions on social participation, involvement in social networks, and sources of support.
Although this is the first time the GSS has been dedicated to this topic, questions on several sub-themes of social engagement have appeared in earlier cycles, including questions about contact with friends and relatives (Cycle 16, Cycle 15, Cycle 14, Cycle 11, Cycle 10), giving and receiving informal help (Cycle 16, Cycle 11), volunteering (Cycle 16, Cycle 14, Cycle 12, Cycle 9), voting and other political activity (Cycle 14).