Chapter 2
Data sources

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This report uses data from three cohorts of doctoral graduates from the National Graduates Survey (NGS), namely the Classes of 1995, 2000 and 2005, with the most recent cohort forming the focal point of the analysis.

The NGS examines the labour market experiences of graduates from Canadian public universities, CEGEPs, community colleges and trade/vocational programs. Two of its main objectives are: 1) to obtain information for the analysis of the labour market outcomes of recent graduates, focusing on education, training, employment, occupations and geographic mobility; and 2) to gain a better understanding of school-to-work transitions and returns to human capital. Graduates were interviewed two years after graduation. Due to the relatively small number of doctoral graduates, the NGS consists of a census of doctoral graduates in Canada.

Box 1: Note to readers

Detailed information on survey methodology, including questionnaire content, can be found on Statistics Canada's website for each of the surveys referenced in this report.

On the Main Page, go to the left side bar and click on "Analysts and researchers", then on "Definitions, data sources and methods", and then, "Surveys and statistical programs". There you can search either alphabetically on the survey name or by subject area.

Comparability between National Graduates Survey cohorts

Prior to the Class of 2000, only graduates who were living in Canada at the time of the survey, i.e., two years after graduation, were considered to be in scope for the NGS.

While conducting the NGS for the Class of 1995 in the summer of 1997, about 1,060 graduates — of which 360 were doctoral graduates — were found to be living in the United States. At that time, they were considered to be out of scope for the NGS and were not interviewed.

Since then, all graduates from a recognized public postsecondary Canadian institution who were living in Canada or the United States at the time of the survey were considered to be in scope and were interviewed for the NGS.

In addition, conceptual differences exist between the content of the 1995 NGS and the content of the more recent 2000 and 2005 surveys. Consequently, results for the Classes of 2000 and 2005 are considered to be directly comparable whereas some important variability may be observed for the Class of 1995 due to differences in population coverage and questionnaire content.

Other data sources consulted

Additional data were provided by the 2006 Census of Population and by the Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED) to add explanatory power to the outcomes found in the NGS. The SED provided annual data on doctoral graduates at the time of graduation between the 2003/2004 and 2007/2008 academic years.

Collapsed list of fields of study

For simplicity and to meet the conditions of confidentiality, the fields of study have been collapsed in order to provide larger sample sizes (Table 1).

Table 1 Comparison of detailed field of study and Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) to collapsed list

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