What is Public Opinion Research?

The following explanation is taken from the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, dated August 1, 2006.

Public opinion research is the planned gathering, by or for a government institution, for any government purpose, of: opinions; attitudes; perceptions; judgements; feelings; ideas; reactions or; views.

Public opinion research helps the government to better understand Canadian society and to identify citizens' needs and expectations. It is used, among other applications, to:

Collection of the information listed above constitutes public opinion research:

The information gathering may be associated with a broad range of activities. These may include, for example:

The following research and/or methods for obtaining opinions and/or advice are not considered to be opinion research:

In keeping with the principles of a non-partisan public service, institutions may not issue contracts or expend public funds for research on electoral voting intentions, political party preferences, or party standings with the electorate.