This research paper examines how the Statistics Canada Postal Code Conversion File (PCCF) is being used by researchers. The study used a systematic search strategy to locate publications that incorporated the use of the PCCF into the underlying research process. The retrieved publications were then reviewed, and data was collected for several variables such as year of publication, type of publication, researcher’s discipline or field, and category of PCCF usage.
Analysis of the results found that the Data Liberation Initiative program was definitely a factor in increasing the use of the PCCF among academic researchers. It also established that researchers from the health sciences and medical fields were the predominant users of the PCCF. With regards to the category of usage, the study has discovered that most researchers use the PCCF for the following purposes: 1) to aggregate research data to census geographic units; 2) to link research data (individual or aggregated) with the corresponding census data; 3) to determine the rural/urban geographic location of their subjects; 4) to measure distance; and, 5) to map data.