Home
RRFSS General Information
RRFSS Analysis Information
Reports & Presentations
Forms
Non-Member Information
Members Information
Home > Non-Member Information


 Frequently Asked Questions for Public Health Units
How can my health unit join?
Who is doing the data collection?
What is the cost?
What other funding does RRFSS receive?
How is the questionnaire organized?
How much flexibility does a health unit have?
What process is followed when deciding what questions to include in the survey?
When is the timeline for the survey each year?
When can we expect to receive the data at the Health Unit?
Who will analyze the data?
How can I be sure that the data is reliable?
How does RRFSS relate to the Mandatory Health Programs and Services Guidelines (MHPSG)?
How do RRFSS participating Public Health Units communicate?

 Frequently Asked Questions for the General Public
What is the Rapid Risk Factor Surveillance System (RRFSS)?
Who conducts the survey?
How will the results be used?
Will I be interviewed?

 Frequently Asked Questions for Researchers
Can I use the results from RRFSS posted on this website?
How do I get results not posted on the website?
Can I use the questionnaires from RRFSS published on this website?

Frequently Asked Questions for Public Health Units

How can my health unit join?

Health units in Ontario can join RRFSS twice during a year using the Special Request Process and Form contained in the RRFSS Manual of Operations. If your Health Unit is interested in joining, please contact the RRFSS Coordinator, Lynne Russell for more information.

Back to top

Who is doing the data collection?

The Institute for Social Research at York University collects the data using a Computer Assisted Telephone Interview (CATI) system. The University also provides the data in SPSS to the health units.

Back to top

What is the cost?

The total cost for each health unit is evaluated on an annual basis. Each RRFSS-participating health unit signs a contract with the ISR, York University. This covers the creation of a CATI (computer assisted telephone interview) system, 100 completed interviews per month for 12 months and the creation of data sets in SPSS format. Since ISR contracts directly with each health unit, there is flexibility if health units want to pay more for an increased sample size.

Back to top

What other funding does RRFSS receive?

During the 1999 pilot survey year, the original funding agencies included the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Cancer Care Ontario and Health Canada.

Currently, no central funding for RRFSS exists. All costs are borne by individual participating health units.

Back to top

How is the questionnaire organized?

The questionnaire contains two types of modules, core and optional. The maximum number of allowable questions is about 100 (core plus optional). Core modules are reviewed and selected on an annual basis by all RRFSS-participating health units.

Core questions are asked for at least one survey cycle (1 year). RRFSS-participating health units CANNOT opt out of the core modules once the core modules have been selected for the subsequent year.

The optional modules are the modules specified by the individual health units. Each RRFSS-participating health unit can chose own optional questions from a list of choices; questions can be added or deleted on a monthly basis. These questions can be modified at any time using the Process for Changing Modules, outlined in the RRFSS Manual of Operations.

Back to top

How much flexibility does a health unit have?

Individual health units have the following flexibility from participating in RRFSS:

  • Add individual health-unit-specific questions to help address emerging issues, support program planning or assist program evaluation.
  • Flexibility in sampling and length of the questionnaire.

Please contact Lynne Russell, the RRFSS Coordinator, for more information.

Back to top

What process is followed when deciding what questions to include in the survey?

These are the criteria that are used to select questions for the survey:

  • Clear and documented relationship between the proposed question and a health unit program objective. It must be clearly stated how the information will be used for program planning/evaluation purposes.
  • There is a need to measure the variable over time, and changes in the indicator could reasonably be expected.
  • The degree to which alternative data sources are unsatisfactory/unavailable. Will the indicator/question address data gaps?
  • The degree to which the prevalence of the variable in the population will be adequate for the planned analysis.
  • The proposed topic area must not adversely affect the length of the questionnaire.
  • Sensitivity of the topic area.
  • Questions must be amenable to a telephone survey (simple, information is easily recalled, easy language, acceptability of subject matter, clear, concise).
  • Expected validity and reliability of the question(s).

Back to top

When is the timeline for the survey each year?

The survey follows a calendar year beginning each January. Over the following 12 months, 100 interviews are completed per health unit, for a total of 1,200 interviews.

Back to top

When can we expect to receive the data at the Health Unit?

Timeliness of data receipt is one of the major strengths of RRFSS. RRFSS-participating health units can expect to receive the data approximately 2 months after the data are collected. A RRFSS month will start and end during the second week of each month. Therefore, most interviews will be done in the second week of the month, with call-backs during the remainder of the time.

Back to top

Who will analyze the data?

Each RRFSS-participating health unit is responsible for the analysis of any optional questions asked by only their health unit. After permission is given from RRFSS-participating health units, core module data is posted on an annual basis on the RRFSS website. On a volunteer basis RRFSS-participating health units can create SPSS syntax files to assist with module data analysis. The analysis follows RRFSS Data Analysis General Principles and Guidelines, outlined in the RRFSS Manual of Operations.

Back to top

How can I be sure that the data is reliable?

The questionnaire has been in development since the summer of 2000. Where possible, many questions are taken from established national surveys, such as the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS), the National Population Health Survey (NPHS) or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. This will permit comparability between surveys as well as using questions that have already gone through some validity and reliability testing.

The questionnaire has been pilot tested and further changes may be made to the questionnaire, based on feedback from the interviewers as well as observations of the interviews.

Plans are for the ISR to perform a series of focus groups to ensure questions are clear and will provide the intended information.

Back to top

How does RRFSS relate to the Mandatory Health Programs and Services Guidelines (MHPSG)?

At the outset, a review of the MHPSG was conducted to determine where data gaps existed. Although the current CCHS contains questions related to mandatory objectives, it is far less complete at the level of requirements and standards. For example, requirements for Internet and telephone advice lines are represented in the RRFSS.

Back to top

How do RRFSS participating Public Health Units communicate?

The representatives from each participating public health unit form Regional Working Groups. A Steering Group also exists comprising  Representatives from the Regional Working Groups and ISR, York University. Subgroups also exists to provide technical expertise to specific issues such as Analysis Group, Website Group and Module Development Groups.

Back to top

Frequently Asked Questions for the General Public

What is the Rapid Risk Factor Surveillance System (RRFSS)?

The Raid Risk Factor Surveillance System (RRFSS) is an on-going telephone survey occurring in various public health units across Ontario. On a monthly basis, a random sample of 100 adults aged 18 years and older is interviewed regarding risk behaviours of importance to public health, such as smoking, sun safety, use of bike helmets, water testing in private wells, etc.

Back to top

Who conducts the survey?

The survey is conducted by the Institute for Social Research (ISR) at York University, on behalf of all the RRFSS-participating health units.

Back to top

How will the results be used?

The purpose of RRFSS is to provide timely data relevant to local public health needs. RRFSS is used to monitor key public health issues yet is adaptable to collect information on emerging issues. The results from RRFSS are used to support program planning and evaluation, to advocate for public policy development, and to improve community awareness regarding the risks for chronic diseases, infectious disease and injuries.

Back to top

Will I be interviewed?

Probably, if the public health unit where you live in is a RRFSS participant.

Back to top

Frequently Asked Questions for Researchers

Can I use the results from RRFSS posted on this website?

The RRFSS results posted in this website are the core module results posted annually, which are public domain data and are thus available for anyone's use. However, we do ask that any published material derived from the data acknowledge RRFSS as the original source.

Suggested Citation for Online RRFSS Database:
Rapid Risk Factor Surveillance System, Ontario, Canada, [appropriate year].

Back to top

How do I get results not posted on the website?

The optional module data results are not posted on the website, which are the data specific to a health unit or more than one health units. The optional module data can be requested by submitting an External Data Request Form and following the procedure outlined in the RRFSS Manual of Operations. If you are interested in making an External Data Request, please contact the RRFSS Coordinator, Lynne Russell for more information.

Back to top

Can I use the RRFSS questionnaires on this website?

RRFSS questionnaires are public domain information and are thus available for anyone’s use. However, we do ask that any published material derived from RRFSS acknowledge RRFSS as the original source.

Suggested Citation for Online RRFSS Questionnaire:
Rapid Risk Factor Surveillance System, Ontario, Canada, [appropriate year].

Back to top

 

 

 
© 2017
Admin...