Examining large-scale time-use files through graphic representation

William Michelson, David Crouse

telework; home-based work; graphic analysis; tempogram; composite tempogram.

The objective of this paper is to demonstrate the utility of graphic means to add to the comprehension of time-use analysis. The paper traces the development of several graphic approaches, from the logic of plotting a single case in multidimensional space to several ways of examining time-use dynamics graphically without limitations on sample size. It draws on pilot studies from the FAMITEL research project on telecommuting and extends to Statistics Canada’s General Social Survey in 1998 with time-use data (GSS12). The examples of graphic development focus on aspects of the daily lives of teleworkers, to illustrate in this context how graphic representation can illuminate much-discussed differences between the complex pattern of daily life characterizing of these workers in comparison to conventional workers, regardless of the size of samples and subsamples. The graphic techniques discussed advance understanding of these phenomena by presenting visual evidence of differential patterns reflecting the interrelations between the several components of time-use as well as reflecting the different times in the day in which phenomena occur, within and between analytic subgroups. As in many other analyses, gender can be literally seen in the graphics as an important differentiating factor, even within occupational situations.