Research Instruments

The NRE project has produced a number of data-gathering instruments over its 11-year history. Most of them focus on the characteristics of the 32 rural and remote field sites in the NRE Rural Observatory. They are provided here to encourage the collection and analysis of comparable information from other locations and times.

These instruments were designed to improve the rather limited types of information available for small and remote sites. Typical data relies on results from census and some administrative sources—most often with an individual-level focus and relatively large geographical areas. By comparison, the NRE profile and survey data focuses on household and community-level characteristics such as enterprises, organizations, services, events, infrastructure, and their geographical context. The household survey includes information regarding employment history, informal economic activities, social support, networks, and communication.

We invite researchers and community members to consider the information and types of questions asked as models for other studies and community-development objectives. We are willing to discuss various forms of data-sharing so that comparisons are possible among different types of sites and at different points in time. In addition, the NRE Sample Frame can be used as a means for identifying new field sites or making strategic comparisons for analysis.

We ask that recognition be provided for the use of these materials—not only for the NRE researchers and supporters that made their production possible, but for the many people in the NRE field sites who contributed their suggestions, time, and feedback to design the instruments and ensure their relevance for understanding rural life, challenges, and opportunities. A suggested reference is the following.

New Rural Economy Project (1997-2008) “NRE Research Instruments” Concordia University

We would appreciate hearing from you if you make use of these materials, wish to explore comparative analysis, or make use of the NRE data. You can contact us via

Back to top

© Concordia University