Data Handling, Analysis, Security

Privacy and Confidentiality:  SPR observes all requirements of the Canadian Federal Privacy Legislation.  Thus no individual or organizational information collected by SPR during the course of a survey is ever revealed, except where the person or organization being surveyed has given explicit permission.  Usually, complete confidentiality is ensured by SPR's guarantee that only SPR will see the survey responses.  Over the past 25+ years, SPR has applied these provisions with exceptional rigour, in over 100 national surveys of over 200,000 individuals and organizations, in studies dealing with sensitive topics such as national security programs and private patient information in the health care system.  Web surveys raise additional challenges:  All of SPR's on-line surveys are uploaded to our secure survey website (, where security from interception of responses as they are communicated between the respondent and SPR's server is achieved by implementation of a Secure Socket Layer and the accompanying use of a site certificate.  A Federal government facility clearance add additional strength to SPR's privacy and confidentiality guarantee.

Information Systems and Database Utilization:   SPR has extensive experience with government and business information systems, their utilization and development.  SPR can aid organizations to refine, or make better use of, existing databases for both management and research purposes.  Previous SPR projects include:  analysis of an existing database of Ontario lakes, assessing utility of water chemistry and related information for predicting the occurrence of certain types of algae formations in Ontario recreation lakes; development of a hockey injury database for the province of Ontario; and utilization of HRDC Labour Program information systems to develop indicators of efficiency in the resolution of employee complaints concerning labour standards under the Canada Labour Code, and to develop related analyses of impacts on the Federal Health and Safety Program.

Data Processing/Statistical Data Analysis:   Using advanced statistical data analysis procedures, SPR is able to process all of its quantitative and qualitative survey data in-house.  Data collected through web-based surveys is analyzed using SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences), enabling SPR to provide:  descriptive statistics and tabulations (in easy-to-read tables and statistical output); cross-tabulations showing the relationship between two variables (related statistical displays and graphics such as scattergrams); and multi-variate analysis (multiple regression, cluster analysis, factor analysis, discriminant analysis, etc.) showing relationships between three or more variables.  Data can be exported in a variety of formats, including:  SPSS system files, SAS files, or Excel files to allow transfer to other computer systems.

Data Storage/Archiving:   SPR is able to provide long-term storage for hard copy materials and electronic data files for individual contracts.  Hard copy study materials are protected in fireproof storage during the course of a study and afterwards for a period of three years (or longer by special agreement).   Electronic Storage:  survey data is stored on-site at SPR (with off-site back-up.)  Sensitive data files stored by SPR have included materials for national security-related programs and confidential client mailing lists for Federal and Provincial Government programs, voluntary associations, as well as private corporations.