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1 User-friendly presentation of statistics Creating a dissemination policy and guidelines for developing and transition countries A cooperation project.

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Presentation on theme: "1 User-friendly presentation of statistics Creating a dissemination policy and guidelines for developing and transition countries A cooperation project."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 User-friendly presentation of statistics Creating a dissemination policy and guidelines for developing and transition countries A cooperation project between PARIS21 and Statistics Norway Jan Erik Kristiansen Senior adviser Statistics Norway

2 2 ”Publish or perish”!

3 3 In many NSOs dissemination is still limited, because: Focus on data collection and processing Lack of experience (and coordination) ”Fear of dissemination”? Lack of dissemination strategy and guidelines But: Todays increase in the number of studies, surveys and censuses could result in a dramatic increase in dissemination:

4 4 112 5 744 5 7 9 112 8 347 779 6,3 56 2006=10 8 56 2006=10 135,4 9 45 + 7 12% 112 5 744 5 7 9 112 7687 8 2 3477 779 6,3 56 2006=10 8 56 2006=10 135,4 9 45 + 7 12% Methods/calculations Data entry & editing Data collection/surveys/adm. registers (Master plan/strategy/MDGs/PRSPs, etc.) Statistics Data Tabulation NSOs = Numerical volcanoes?

5 5      Methods/calculations Data entry & editing Data collection/surveys/adm. registers (Master plan/strategy/MDGs/PRSPs/etc.) User-friendly presentation Tabulation

6 6 But what is “user-friendliness”? Pentax IQZoom 200 QD 35mm Film Camera An uncompromising yet user-friendly camera, the IQZoom 200 expands the realms of photographic possibility…. Findable/easy to find Understandable/informative –figures should be comparable and easy to compare ” The need to make outputs more user-friendly is also a useful concept and should be further explored, particularly when the general level of discomfort that the public displays about numerical data is taken into account” From: ”The statistical infrastructure of the Caribbean countries”, 2005.

7 7 Examples of not so user-friendly dissemination Not primarily included to criticize, but to show that improvement of dissemination is often a question of minor changes Our websites and publications are full of tables and graphs that are ambiguous, meaningless or even misleading. Also: Examples are easier to understand and remember than general rules and principles

8 8 “User-friendly”? From: 2004 Census, Qatar

9 9 “User-friendly”? From: Annual Statistical Digest 2006, Trinidad and Tobago

10 10 From: CSME Profile 2005-2006: A selection of various statistical indicators “User-friendly”?

11 11 Literacy rate. Adult men and women MenWomen 193530.88.0 194544.313.5 195047.716.7 195556.321.3 196054.821.1 196564.727.6 etc.:: From: Statistical Indicators 1923-2004, Turkstat “User-friendly”?

12 12 “User-friendly”? From:

13 13 Titles of graphs/tables: Percentage distribution of households by type of household. Better?: Household types. Per cent Unemployed by sex and age Better?: Unemployed men and women in different age groups Pupil to teacher ratio Better?: Pupils per teacher “User-friendly”?

14 14 “User-friendly”? COPYRIGHT 2006-Ministry of Finance, International Financial Services and Economic Affairs All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by anymeans, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the producer. Better : ”When using our statistics, please refer to Statistics Xxxxxx (name of NSO) as the source”

15 15 General motto: KISS! Keep It Short and Simple! This applies to: – Tables – Graphs – Titles – Text

16 16 Contents of draft: 1. Dissemination: Formulating a strategy 2. Comparing numbers: Making the numbers talk 3. In columns and rows: Constructing tables 4. From table to graph: Why and how? 5. The media: Our best friends 6. The Internet: Something for everybody 7. In the shadow of the Internet: Printed publications 8. “This is how we do it”: Making dissemination guidelines Read more? Some suggestions Appendix I: This is Norway – What the figures say: An example of a user-friendly publication Appendix II: Training for user-friendly dissemination: Some possible topics

17 17 Target group(s)? Chief statisticians/management Employees in disseminations units Others involved in dissemination

18 18 Dissemination – some strategic issues The role of users The role of media Printed publications – electronic dissemination? Tables or analysis? Dissemination: Centralized or decentralized? Pricing policy

19 19 Users The most “important” users? “Serving the government”?

20 20 The role of users? “User-friendly = “let’s ask the users”? But many users do not know what they want! And: We also want to attract new users! So….

21 21 Traditional dissemination model  Media  The public  Libraries  Education  Government/org.  Business NSI The role of the media

22 22 “New” dissemination model  The public  Libraries  Education  Government/org.  Business NSI Media

23 23 The media are of vital importance because: They represent an important channel of dissemination They help increase the visibility and public recognition of the NSO –and thereby improving the publics trust in statistics

24 24 Statistician and journalist: Like cat and dog?

25 25 But: We must cooperate! Journalists are our best friends

26 26 An example of “change in attitudes”?

27 27 Two basic rules when communicating with the media: Equal treatment –No pre-release access Establish a release calendar

28 28 Printed or electronic? Yesterday: Printed publication first, then electronic/ Internet Today: Parallel publishing: Paper and Internet simultaneously Tomorrow: First on the Internet, then printed version. (In Statistics Norway, an "Internet first"-policy has been implemented. Statistics are  since June 1999  released daily on the Internet.).

29 29 Tables or analysis? Numbers to the experts? Analysis/comments to the media & the public? But …

30 30 More “analysis”, because… In a complex society, readers need to be guided through the numerical jungel: “What does the numbers really mean”? The informed users and the general public need explanations, interpretations and comments

31 31 Why “analysis”? “Analysis” forces us to look closer at the data: concepts, definitions, measurements, sampling, etc. … and provides a necessary feedback into the statistical production process, increasing the quality of statistics, by uncovering errors and mistakes in the statistics

32 32 Analysis is … To select among all the possible numbers What is… –Important? –Interesting? –New…? To make the figures comparable And to compare: point out differences, trends and tendencies –Over time/time series –Between groups –Or both

33 33 The future? Publishing statistics: Two main directions? 1. Numbers/tables: On Internet 2.Text/analysis: Printed publications

34 34 A few words about the Internet: The responsibility for the web service should not be left to the IT unit Something for everybody Tables and publications should be downloadable

35 35 Internet (continued): Give priority to statistics –instead of words of welcome, statements of missions and visions, organizational charts or photos of the chief statistician

36 36 Internet (continued): Keep it simple! From: Central Agency for Mobilization and Statistics. Egypt

37 37 Internet (continued): Update as often as possible One suggestion: “Portion out” results from large surveys and censuses

38 38 A centralized dissemination unit should… contribute to a long-term dissemination strategy publish and inform about statistical results establish and maintain good relations with the media give advice in information and dissemination matters organize the production line and co-ordinate the different aspects of production (tools/programs) make guidelines for design and layout for publications, tables and charts and see that these rules are being followed Dissemination: Centralized or decentralized?

39 39 A centralized dissemination unit should… develop knowledge about the various aspects of publishing; including design, layout and the making of tables and charts initiate, edit and/or co-ordinate publications and presentations involving various subject matter departments, like yearbooks have the overall editorial responsibility for the web service co-ordinate printed and electronic dissemination take care of distribution, subscriptions, marketing, contact with users, etc.

40 40 Pricing policy With Internet and a growing understanding of statistics as a public good, the context of the pricing policy is changing: - Today, charging for Internet-services is almost “impossible” - Printed publications: Marginal costs

41 41 To increase user-friendly dissemination… Every NSO should develop a dissemination strategy – to make the organization concious of the importance of dissemination Strategy = plans for the day after tomorrow = road map But more important is the will (and ability) to implement and carry out the plans: Action speaks louder than words” Dissemination policy = dissemination guide(lines): ”This is how we do it”

42 42 More user-friendly presentation of statistics Developing the Website More and better metadata Guidelines for metadata Make tables downloadable in Excel Guidelines for tables on Internet Better news releases Guidelines for news releases Etc. Better media relations More and better analyses Etc. From strategy to guidelines: A schematic example Long term strategic goal  Policy/plans  Actions/projects  Guidelines/

43 43 The drafted guide does not propose any specific strategies, policies or guidelines for the various aspects of dissemination - - these must be decided by the NSOs themselves, depending on their present situation, available resources - and ambitions

44 44 ”This is how we do it” Possible content of guidelines: News realeases and media relations Publication series The internet Tables Graphs Metadata But remember: KISS

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