Taking the Pulse results to be released through local media

Nearly seven months after canvassing more than 1,700 Saskatchewan residents on various hot-button issues, the College of Arts and Science is set to release the survey results through a unique, province-wide partnership with prominent media outlets. 

By Colleen MacPherson
Results from the survey, titled Taking the Pulse of Saskatchewan, will be released beginning Oct. 18 by the CBC and Postmedia News, which owns
StarPhoenix in Saskatoon and
Leader-Post in Regina.

The results will be profiled over nine days, with media focusing on separate thematic areas each day. The survey—a result of work conducted by more than 30 faculty and 40 students in the college's Division of Social Sciences—gauged residents' opinions on diverse and potentially divisive topics ranging from Aboriginal issues and immigration to crime and the economy.

"It really is an incredible project and partnership," said Loleen Berdahl, project lead for Taking the Pulse and associate professor of political studies. "Our media partners will help personalize the survey data for the Saskatchewan public and create a portrait of the data. It really helps us engage with the community and present research in a new and exciting way."

CBC Saskatchewan and Postmedia found unique value in this initiative, which is planned to take place annually to track long-term shifts in perception, said Berdahl.

"Saskatchewan is in the middle of great growth and change," said Rob McLaughlin, editor-in-chief of
StarPhoenix and
Leader-Post, as well as deputy publisher of
StarPhoenix. "It is the job of our newspapers to not only chronicle how life is evolving in the province, but to also raise questions and facilitate conversations about the issues we face every day. Working with the CBC and the university on this project allows us to do that work in some powerful new ways."

Once released through the media, results from the survey will be available online on the Social Sciences Research Laboratory's (SSRL) website. The SSRL is home to five interconnected research labs at the
U of S, including the Survey and Group Analysis Laboratory that made Taking the Pulse possible.

Berdahl said the survey data will also help inform future scholarly and community-engagement work on campus. For example, the data could be used to strengthen grant applications, inspire researchers to connect with community-based organizations and, for students, shape essay and thesis topics.

CBC Radio's
The Morning Edition, with host Sheila Coles, will broadcast from the Arts Building Oct. 18 from 6-8:30 am to officially launch Taking the Pulse. Daily features will run on CBC television, radio and in both
StarPhoenix and
Leader-Post until Oct. 26.

Kirk Sibbald is a communications officer in the College of Arts and Science