Concordia is launching a new research centre that will focus on studying human values – at home and around the world.
The Center for Research on Values, Attitudes and Societies (CEVAS) will support researchers looking at these issues in Quebec and across Canada. It will do so by giving them access to the data from the World Values Survey (WVS), with the aim of better understanding how principles and attitudes evolve.
“As co-director, my role is to attract scholars to the centre and to supervise research conducted from the data collected through the WVS in Canada,” explains Lachapelle, who will also supervise the project in Canada with the help of collaborators.
The centre was made possible via funding from the Secrétariat du Québec aux relations canadiennes (SQRC) and support from Concordia. The SQRC has committed more than $350,000 over the next three years.
First project? A global survey
“The founding project of the CEVAS will be to conduct the seventh iteration of the WVS in Canada,” Lachapelle adds. “The data collected will allow researchers to compare the results among Canadians from different regions and demographic backgrounds, as well as with results from past research and with the results found in other countries.”
The survey has not been conducted in Canada since 2006, in its fifth iteration.
For a first project, administering the Canadian component of the WVS is an ambitious one. The survey observes human values, beliefs and behaviours in up to 80 countries, and it is the only source of empirical data on human attitudes and values that covers most of the world’s population.
In addition, the WVS draws on more than 35 years of data to measure transnational variations, from the poorest to the richest countries, and from the most authoritarian regimes to the most liberal democracies.
The Canadian survey will be conducted with 4,000 randomly chosen respondents.
A research centre with a goal
“The project started from the premise that Canada has to be part of the World Value Survey and that there is an opportunity for researchers to access data from the Canadian population on this survey,” Lachapelle notes.
He decided a research centre was the best way to accomplish this goal.
“The idea to create a research centre was born with this goal in mind: to provide a fresh outlook on values and attitudes of Canadians in a comparative approach with the values and attitudes of citizens around the world.”
Although the survey was to launch in June 2020, like so many other things, the centre’s ability to begin collecting data was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Coming up for CEVAS
Now that the project is ready to go, Lachapelle says CEVAS will be hiring graduate students to participate in the analysis of the data they will collect, leading to a presentation of preliminary results in January or February of next year.
And they plan to participate in the 2021 congress of the International Political Science Association, a Concordia-based group for which Lachapelle has served as secretary general for the past 20 years.
Lachapelle is excited for what lies ahead.
“My hope is to lay down the foundations of a research centre that will last to be part of the future waves of the WVS. I want our understanding of the evolution of values and attitudes among our societies to take root in the observation of reliable and pertinent data collected each decade.”
Learn more about Concordia’s new Center for Research on Values, Attitudes and Societies.