The 2007 National Justice Survey: Tackling Crime and Public Confidence

2. Method

2. Method

The 2007 National Justice Survey was a household telephone survey of 4,502 Canadians over the age of 18 years. The survey was conducted between February 27 and March 29, 2007 in all ten provinces using a random digit dialling method. On average, interviews were approximately 31 minutes in length. In order to randomly select a single respondent in multi-person households, the individual with the next upcoming birthday was selected.

Response rate in public opinion research is a recurring methodological concern. The central issue is whether or not the sample is actually random, and therefore likely representative of the broader population. The effective response rate for this survey was 9%, which, although low, is relatively consistent with industry norms for a random digit dialling survey. The response rate was calculated as the number of responding participants (i.e., completed interviews, disqualifications and over-quota participants), divided by the number of unresolved numbers (i.e., busy signals, no answer) plus non-responding households or individuals (i.e., refused to participate, language barrier, missed call-backs) plus responding participants.

Response rate=[responding participants/(unresolved numbers + non-responding households + responding participants)]

2.1 Sample

The sample frame and the provincial margins of error at the 95% confidence level are summarized in Table 1. The sample in each province was intentionally disproportionate to the provincial populations in order to ensure adequate sample sizes at a regional level for analytical purposes.

Table 1: Provincial Sampling And Margin Of Error
Province N (%) 95% Margin of Error
Newfoundland 270 (6.0%) +/- 5.8%
Prince Edward Island 271 (6.0%) +/- 5.8%
Nova Scotia 270 (6.0%) +/- 5.8%
New Brunswick 270 (6.0%) +/- 5.8%
Quebec 720 (16.0%) +/- 3.6%
Ontario 720 (16.0%) +/- 3.6%
Manitoba 270 (6.0%) +/- 5.8%
Saskatchewan 271 (6.0%) +/- 5.8%
Alberta 720 (16.0%) +/- 3.6%
British Columbia 720 (16.0%) +/- 3.6%
TOTAL 4,502 (100%) +/- 1.5%

Just over half of the respondents were women (51.7%), almost two-thirds (63.8%) were married or in a common-law relationship, and approximately one-third (32.1%) had children under the age of 18 living at home. The average age of the respondents was 50.5 years (SD=15.9) and the median annual household income was between $50,000 and $60,000. A small proportion of the sample (3.4%) self-identified as an Aboriginal and 13.2% identified as a member of a visible minority group.

Table 2 provides additional demographic information on the sample. Nearly two-thirds of respondents (61.1%) were working (either full- or part-time), while a quarter of the sample (25.0%) were retired. It appears that the sample is comprised of relatively educated Canadians as more than half (54.2%) had completed some form of post-secondary education. Of the 15.9% of respondents who spoke French most often at home, the vast majority were from Quebec (88.3%), followed by New Brunswick (5.8%) and then Ontario (2.4%). The sample was relatively evenly divided into those that regularly attend religious services, those that attend only on special occasions and those that never attend religious services.

Table 2: Demographics

Employment status (N=4,459)
VARIABLE N (%)
Employed full-time 2,245 (50.4%)
Employed part-time 476 (10.7%)
Unemployed 167 (3.8%)
Stay at home 230 (5.2%)
Student 163 (3.7%)
Retired 1,114 (25.0%)
Disability Pension 64 (1.4%)

Highest Level of Education Attained (N=4,461)
VARIABLE N (%)
Less than high school 476 (10.7%)
High school 1,563 (35.0%)
College 902 (20.2%)
Undergraduate 854 (19.1%)
Graduate 666 (14.9%)

Language Spoken Most Often at Home (N=4,477)
VARIABLE N (%)
English 3,602 (80.5%)
French 710 (15.9%)
Other 165 (3.7%)

Religious Service Attendance (N=4,438)
VARIABLE N (%)
Regular attendance 1,318 (29.7%)
Special occasions / irregular attendance 1,608 (36.2%)
Never 1,512 (34.1%)

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