Longitudinal study of personal adjustment and social conditions in the Fort McMurray area Vol I: Research design

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  • The purpose of Phase 1 was to establish a research design for a longitudinal study to identify and explain the relationships between social and personal adjustment of people in the oil sands region. The research design was to be implemented in Fort McMurray and to be applicable to any resource community. The Study Team examined the literature and studies reievant to resource communities and conventional communities, and consulted with the Client and interested departments. The purposes of this review were to determine the central dimensions of personal, family, social, economic and community life to be identified and monitored during the Longitudinal Study; the data and information required; the most appropriate theoretical and methodological approaches to take; and the instruments to monitor and measure change. The Study Team's emphasis was upon user requirements; theoretical and conceptual soundness; and feasibility within the time and resources available. This work was integrated with a comparable study being prepared by the Team for the Cold Lake Region. This Report sets out the Team's findings. It recommends theoretical and methodological approaches and specifies the instruments and procedures to be used. The major recommendations include the establishement of an Institutional Information System to collect objective data; a study of the local economy; a study of children in school; and a statistically reliable household survey using instruments to measure psychological, attitudinal and activity characteristics of the population. These are to be applied again in Phase 3 and changes to be noted, measured and assessed. The Report sets out the costs of each component of the research design, and describes various options, including their respective advantages and disadvantages. If it is not possible to carry out all components of the proposed Longitudinal Study, the information provided will assist the Client in establishing priorities for the selection of the components to be used.

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