Population Research Laboratory
Dr. Andrew Harrell, the Executive Director of the Population Research Laboratory in the Department of Sociology, has been conducting research on the shopping cart safety of children since 1990. In 2005, he published a study that suggested that good-looking children are more likely to be better attended by their parents than "unattractive" children. Less attractive children were less likely to be buckled into the grocery cart seat than more attractive children.
The Population Research Laboratory (PRL) was established in 1966 to conduct research on demography and related subjects in the field of sociology. The first director of PRL was Wayne W. McVey, Jr, who held the position from 1966 to 1972. The PRL has since become a leading centre for social science research at the University of Alberta. PRL is one of the Department of Sociology's research centres, and the executive director is always a member of the Department's faculty.
Over the years, PRL has accumulated extensive experience conducting research in the fields of social policy, health, population, education, and public opinion. In addition to University researchers and administrators, PRL's clients also include government departments and agencies, regional health authorities, professional associations, and non-government organizations.
Staff of PRL have presented research at numerous conferences, including the Association for Psychological Science 19th Annual Conference in Washington, DC and the Urban Affair Association 37th Annual Meeting in Seattle, Washington.
The Population Research Laboratory offers numerous research services to clients. These include:
- Primary Data Collection and Analysis: PRL prides itself on its refined methods of data collection and analysis.
- Total Survey Design: A team of survey consultants works to address all aspects of the survey process. All surveys adhere to standardized guidelines for ethical conduct for research involving humans.
- Project Management: Project managers are able to help with questionnaire design, planning, data management, data analysis, and report writing.
- Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing: PRL has a strong reputation for meeting tight deadlines using the Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) System of data collection and providing high-quality results within a competitive price framework.
- Questionnaire Design: PRL consults on the design of reliable survey instruments for telephone, in-person, mail-out, and self-administered surveys.
- Face-to-face Interviewing: A team of interviewers are recruited for face-to-face surveys.
- Census Enumeration: Training and assistance for the planning of small area census enumeration is provided.
- Mail-out Surveys: PRL will provide assistance in all phases of the project, including questionnaire design, data analysis, and professional covering letters.
- Focus Groups: Random members of the public are selected for use in focus groups.
- Internet Surveys: PRL has the web surveying software to handle both closed (numeric) and open-ended (free text) surveys
- Secondary Data Analysis: PRL offers services for analysis of secondary or archived data.
PRL has also conducted the annual Alberta Survey since 1987. This survey is a random-sample telephone survey of 1,200 Alberta adults. The Alberta Survey addresses research needs of University researchers and other organizations. Questions vary from year to year, but the survey investigates public opinion about a variety of public policy concerns.
To read more about the Population Research Laboratory, please visit its website.