Sources of Data for Rural Health Research: Development of an Inventory of Canadian Databases

Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
  • Desmeules, Marie;
  • Heng, Denis;
  • Lagacé, Claudia;
  • Pitblado, J. Roger;
  • Pong, Raymond W.


Secondary data sources can often be used to help address questions about the health status, health behavior, health resources allocation, and utilization of health services of rural Canadians. But the task of deciding which Canadian databases are amenable to rural health research remains a challenge. As part of a larger research project titled “Canada's Rural Communities: Understanding Rural Health and Its Determinants,” an inventory of 51 Canadian databases that have the potential of being used for rural health research was compiled, and it continues to be maintained and updated. The websites maintained by two of Canada's leading statistical data centers were systematically searched, along with other published articles and national reports, to produce this inventory. The criteria used to determine which data sources to include in this inventory are: (1) databases containing data at the national level that can be accessed by researchers, (2) databases containing data that are relevant to a variety of rural health issues, and (3) databases containing data that could be partitioned into rural and non-rural geographies. Detailed information is available by searching the inventory of national rural health research-related databases through the internet ( or by contacting the lead author of this article. This article examines some of the issues in developing this resource and demonstrates the usefulness of its contents to Canadian and other rural health researchers.

Full article can be found in: Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
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