In the past two decades, Tandem has worked on nearly 50 studies, the vast majority of which were developed and executed by Dr. Marianne Sorensen. This depth of experience combined with her graduate education and university teaching has allowed her to develop subject matter expertise in five major, but often overlapping, substantive areas as outlined below. The research skills and experience accrued from these projects is rounded out with public opinion and methodological studies, the details of which are provided at the bottom of this page. Please see Publications for a complete list of associated reports from these projects.
Industry Sector, Labour Market & Workforce Studies
As a graduate student, Marianne majored in the sociology of work and the labour market and has since taught courses on the sociology of work and industry, industrial relations, human resources, and women and work. In addition to developing a distance education course for Athabasca University on the recruitment and retention of employees, she has completed the following related projects:
8Rs Pan-Canadian Library Human Resource Studies
The 8Rs body of research now spans more than a decade. This ambitious research agenda began in response to growing concerns about a Canada-wide shortfall in the supply of librarians due to retirements but soon blossomed into a comprehensive study of all related human resource elements. The most recent endeavour involved the collection of longitudinal data permitting a quantitative mapping of trends in the librarian profession and in the library sector.
8Rs Baseline Study (2003 – 2005)
As the research consultant for the initial 3-year national research project, designed and executed a multi-phase, mixed-methods study of Canadian library human resources. This comprehensive sector analysis entailed an examination of retirement, recruitment, retention, education, professional development, skill demand, and quality of work trends, and an empirical estimation of future library staff supply. Research methods included literature reviews, 3 focus group sessions and in-depth interviews with 17 library heads, and lengthy surveys of 461 library institutions and 4,700 library practitioners across all academic, public, and special library sectors in the country. As the first study of its kind in Canada, the reports provided the library community with an unprecedented wealth of new information and practical strategies for managing the challenges of a dynamic human resource climate.
"The reports cover much ground that has never before been examined in libraries. The 8Rs study provides the data and analysis to inform national coalitions and partnerships between libraries, educational institutions, and representative professional associations of the issues surrounding the supply and demand of the workforce. In doing so, the study permits an unprecedented opportunity to assess our readiness to accommodate change and to illuminate potential strategies that can be used by libraries in planning their own human resources." Chair, Canadian Library Association
8Rs Training Gaps Study (2006)
Designed and executed an in-depth study of the (mis)match between the postsecondary education / training of Canada’s librarians and library technicians and the skill needs of libraries. The study involved a nation-wide scan of curriculum and professional development offerings, surveys of 461 employers, 857 students, and 411 recent graduates, and interviews with 23 deans and directors of library and information science programs.
8Rs Redux: Follow up Study of the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) (2013 – 2015)
On behalf of CARL libraries and in partnership with Dr. Kathleen Delong, conducted a follow-up study to the original 8Rs baseline research by examining how the workforce and skill demand and supply at 26 large Canadian university libraries had changed in the past 10 years. Data were collected with 2 online surveys of nearly 900 participants.
Internationally Educated Radiological Technologist (IERT) Certification (2013 – 2015)
On behalf of the Alberta College of Medical Diagnostic and Therapeutic Technologists (ACMDTT), designed and executed a 3-year evaluative study of the college's programs and policies by examining the credentialing experiences of immigrant radiological technologists. In addition to researching and documenting a wide range of contextual and comparative exigencies, the main source of data for the study was in-depth interviews with 32 IERTs.
University of Alberta Workload, Work-Life Study of Academic Staff (2006)
Designed and executed a mixed methods study examining the workloads and general working climate of academic staff at the University of Alberta. The study entailed a literature review, compilation of existing staff data, coordination and facilitation of 7 focus groups and 12 in-depth interviews, development and distribution of an online survey, and analysis of the results from 1,194 academic staff.
Calgary Labour Force Profile (2006)
With co-consultant, Karen Fingas, developed a labour force profile for Calgary Economic Development by compiling and analyzing data from Statistics Canada's Census of Population and Labour Force Survey and the Government of Alberta's Wage and Salary Survey.
Marianne has conducted nearly a dozen research projects on postsecondary education, with most of these focusing on the Alberta system specifically. Research topics have included student satisfaction, institutional and individual funding, graduate labour market outcomes, postsecondary transitions, student access, Alberta government Key Performance Indicators, continuing education, student retention, quality of work on campus, and public perceptions of postsecondary institutions. As a Phd student, Marianne majored in the sociology of education and for her dissertation conducted a longitudinal analysis of the effects of postsecondary education on social and economic attitudes by utilizing one of the rare sets of long-term panel data in the country.
Program Evaluation of Northern Exposure to Leadership Institute (NELI) (2008)
NELI provides leadership training to Canadian librarians. The effectiveness of the program was evaluated by conducting a cohort analysis of the results of an online survey of 118 alumni.
Student Funding Application Reduction (2008)
On behalf of the Government of Alberta's Ministry of Innovation and Advanced Education, conducted an exploratory analyses of possible explanations for a reduction in student funding applications using data from the provinces' postsecondary enrolment system and Graduate Outcomes Survey.
Postsecondary Affordability in Canada (2007)
On behalf of the Council of Ministers of Education Canada and with colleague, Jennifer de Peuter Chick, conducted a comprehensive and exhaustive literature review on a wide range of matters pertaining to the affordability of postsecondary education in Canada, an examination of the current policy directions of provincial / territorial ministries, and a review of tuition fee and student aid policies in OECD countries. The review addressed the Council's
goal of developing a research agenda pertaining to the affordability of postsecondary education in Canada by identifying emergent themes and knowledge gaps and by providing recommendations for future research.
Labour Market Outcomes of Alberta Postsecondary Graduates (2002 and 2000)
On behalf of the Government of Alberta's Ministry of Innovation and Advanced Education, compiled and analyzed the results from two separate labour market outcome surveys of more than 7,000 graduates each from Alberta's university system. In addition to producing an overall analytic report of the findings, wrote reports for each of the participating institutions (totaling 16 reports).
Postsecondary Transitions (2001)
On behalf of the Government of Alberta's Ministry of Innovation and Advanced Education and with colleague, Guy Germaine, compiled and merged data exchanged between Information Services (IS) and the Alberta Council on Admissions and Transfer (ACAT) to track and analyze the transition of Alberta's grade 12 students to the postsecondary system. A comparative analysis of key characteristics between those students who directly continue from grade 12 to a post secondary institution and those who do not continue informed policy with respect to access and academic standards.
Satisfaction Among Alberta Postsecondary Graduates (2001 and 1999)
On behalf of the Government of Alberta's Ministry of Innovation and Advanced Education, compiled and analyzed the results from two separate satisfaction surveys of more than 7,000 graduates each from Alberta's university system. In addition to producing an overall analytic report of the findings, wrote reports for each of the participating institutions (totalling 16 reports).
Student Drop Outs at the University of Alberta (1999)
On behalf of the Population Research Laboratory, analyzed results from a survey of 594 University of Alberta students to measure and explain why some students do not complete their programs.
Pay Equity Analysis of University of Alberta Employees (1997)
On behalf of the Population Research Laboratory, compiled and analyzed pay equity data by identifying and analyzing prime predictors of salary.
After conducting one of the first analyses of homelessness in the province framed from an "ending homeless" perspective, worked with Homeward Trust on their Homeless Counts and on a province-wide Homeless Connect data standardization initiative, as follows:
Alberta Homeless Connect Data Collection (2012)
On behalf of Homeward Trust Edmonton and for the Alberta Homeless Research Consortium, developed a Data Collection Tool Kit to be used by Alberta's 7 Cities at their respective Homeless Connect events in an attempt to increase the reliability and comparability of data collected from these events across the province.
Edmonton Homeless Counts (2010 and 2012)
On behalf of Homeward Trust Edmonton, cleaned and compiled data from two point-in-time counts of Edmonton's homeless population and produced reports summarizing counts.
Trend Analysis of Edmonton Homeless Counts (2010)
On behalf of Homeward Trust Edmonton, analyzed the trends in Edmonton Homeless Counts from1999 to 2010 by examining structural explanations for variations such as economic and labour market conditions, population change, housing market fluctuations, and policy approaches to homelessness.
Homelessness in the City of Red Deer (2006)
Designed and executed a multi-stage study of homelessness in the City of Red Deer including a literature review, development of 3 questionnaires, in-depth interviews with 23 service providers, in-person interviews with 148 currently and 20 formerly homeless individuals, and data analysis. The resulting report was used by the Red Deer Housing Committee to inform their 10-year plan to end homelessness.
Rural and Regional Matters
The well-being of Canada's rural population is influenced by a complex set of interacting factors, many of which were studied in the projects outlined below. One finding especially noteworthy was the relative influence of geographic reclassification on rural population change. While it is commonly understood that rural populations are stagnating as a result of demographic factors (i.e., the out-migration of especially young rural Canadians to urban centres and non-replacement birth rates), previously unknown was the effect of rural-to-urban geographic reclassification. For example, the 2001 to 2006 reduction in the Alberta rural population of -4.5% was entirely due to sufficient population growth in some rural jurisdictions that they were reclassified from rural towns in 2001 to urban cities in 2006. Loss of rural Alberta populations because they became urban populations, even though they hadn’t moved, has implications for rural population sustainability, loss of agriculture land, and the attendant problems associated with further urbanization (e.g, urban sprawl, environmental and health degradation).
Rural MIZ Profiles (2004 and 2010)
On behalf of Canada's now defunct Rural Secretariat, published 15 reports documenting rural conditions for federal and provincial governments, including 14 provincial, territorial and a national rural profile in 2004 and updated and revamped profiles for rural B.C. and Alberta in 2010. The profiles examine trends in the well-being of rural communities in terms of the extent to which they are influenced by urban centres and how this is correlated with 20 population, demographic, economic, education, social, and health care indicators from Statistics Canada's 2006, 2001, 1996, and 1991 Censuses of Population. Along with the typical rural / urban dichotomy, the analyses utilized the Metropolitan Influenced Zone (MIZ) system to draw distinctions within rural and small town Alberta. The four MIZ categories are Strong, Moderate, Weak, and No MIZ, with each progressively reflecting lower levels of urban integration. This MIZ analysis contributes to a growing body of work demonstrating the advantages conferred on rural communities with urban linkages and highlights the need for policy makers to recognize the range of conditions across the four MIZ zones when drafting policy and implementing programs. The MIZ classification system consistently demonstrates that resources and support are increasingly needed as economic and social integration with urban communities decreases.
Rural Zone Profiles (2011)
On behalf of Canada’s now defunct Rural Partnership (CRP), developed profiles for 6 sample rural zones in Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Saskatoon, and Alberta. The project involved compiling and analyzing data from Statistics Canada's 2006 Census of Population, Canadian Business Patterns, and the International Adult Literacy and Skills Survey. The aim of the project was to develop a consistent set of socioeconomic indicators across a sample of rural areas to serve as a starting point from which to observe the CRP’s impacts and track the progress of the communities' socioeconomic conditions and development.
Urban-Rural Interdependencies (2008 – 2009)
On behalf of the City-Region Studies Centre at the University of Alberta, developed an engaged research project on urban-rural interaction. Wrote the iterative proposals that resulted in funding from three government agencies, managed the process of conducting literature reviews, developed the methodology for the project, and wrote four rural regional profiles.
The region is now the unit of analysis when we're talking globally . . . Regional co-operation has the potential to be a more efficient way, if you're sharing services, co-operating on infrastructure and economic development. Regional development also has the potential to overcome our single-industry dependence in this province . . . Sharing resources creates economic diversity. Often the city supplies services and jobs while the region supplies natural resources and workers. Rural benefits because they can access specialized services, have more social and cultural opportunities. Urban benefits by provision of food, labour force, land stewardship, water management, uniquely rural experiences like tourism, and retirement homes. It's a synergy that is sometimes acknowledged and sometimes not. Key to regional prosperity and social well-being is the need to acknowledge these interdependencies and then develop co-operative arrangements.
Priorities among Rural Canadians (2001 – 2002)
On behalf of the Government of Canada, designed sampling strategy, developed questionnaire, and analyzed data to assess the importance rural residents of Alberta and the Yukon place on eleven priorities (e.g. health, education, infrastructure). The two projects were part of an ongoing 'Rural Dialogue' initiated by the federal government in its 1998 Federal Framework for Action in Rural Canada and were to be used by government departments for policy and program development.
Immigrants, Minorities, and Aboriginal Canadians
In addition to writing an M.A. thesis on the labour market experiences of highly educated immigrant women in Canada and to the recent examination of the accreditation experiences of immigrant radiological technologists already noted above, researched immigration in terms of the major influences on choice of settlement location and of the attitudes of the Canadian-born towards immigrants. On behalf of Pommen and Associates, developed and implemented consultation strategies designed to identify the service needs of the Edmonton urban Aboriginal community.
Methodological Studies & Support
Provided methodological expertise for clients' own research projects by reviewing their methods and making recommendations for improvement or by building and testing instruments, including;
Public Opinion Research
On behalf of the Population Research Laboratory at the University of Alberta, structured and analyzed data from a range of public opinion surveys, including;