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Teaching a Course on Government Statistics in a University Statistics Department Patrick Murphy University College Dublin Ireland.

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Presentation on theme: "Teaching a Course on Government Statistics in a University Statistics Department Patrick Murphy University College Dublin Ireland."— Presentation transcript:

1 Teaching a Course on Government Statistics in a University Statistics Department Patrick Murphy University College Dublin Ireland

2 Outline of Talk 1. Introduction 2. Background: Department & Students 3. Course Development 4. The Course: Content 5. The Course: Presentation 6. Assessment 7. Students’ View 8. Lessons Leaned/Alterations 9. Conclusions

3 Introduction

4 STATISTICIANS:Who are we?  ACADEMIC Statisticians  OFFICIAL Statisticians  INDUSTRYStatisticians Introduction

5 COLLABORATION? Academics Industry Academics Official Statisticians 8 Academics 7 have collaborations with Industry UCD Statistics: Introduction

6 “Statistics” “Facts for the use of the State” “State Arithmetic” Fe 26 Definition now slightly IRONIC Introduction

7 Graduate Employment National Statistical Offices are significant Employers of Statisticians Ireland: Central Statistics Office Small NSO But largest employer of Statisticians in Ireland >70 Permanent Statisticians Consider... Introduction

8 Training for such Graduates Statistics, Mathematics Economics, Social Science, Politics What about specific training in Official Statistics? Introduction

9 Graduate Training continued Web search of Universities revealed University of Southampton, UK MSc in Official Statistics Monash University, Australia Later I discovered University of Ljubljana University of Helsinki Introduction

10 Real Official Statistics Training “On the Job” From International Organisations –Training of European Statisticians TES Institute –International Monetary Fund Introduction

11 Background: Department & Students

12 University College Dublin Largest University in Ireland >20,000 Students Department of Statistics formed in full time Academic members Background

13 Statistics’ Students –Approximately 120 Students Arts –3 years combined with another subject Science –4 year single honours degree or –4 year joint honours with another subject Background Level 1 Statistics: Degree through Arts or Science Faculties

14 Final Year Undergraduate Courses included: Time Series Survey Sampling Design and Analysis of Experiments Survival Analysis Bio-statistics Actuarial Statistics Regression Theory Non-Parametric Statistics Background

15 Higher Diploma in Statistics One year graduate diploma Conversion course for graduates of cognate disciplines e.g. Psychology, Politics, Economics, Computer Science Background M.Sc., M.A. One year taught Masters Degree Available to Students with a good honours degree in Statistics, Mathematics or Actuarial & Financial Studies

16 Course Development

17 Course Development 1: Goals To provide students with an appreciation of the extent to which Official Statistics pervades the lives of citizens of a state To describe the process by which data are collected, processed, analysed and disseminated by an NSI To introduce some techniques used extensively in NSI’s that are not taught in other courses in the Department of Statistics Course Development

18 Course Development 2: Logistics Students: –Final Year Undergraduate –Graduate Diploma –Masters Degree One-Semester course 24 hours of lectures 6 extra computer practical hours Course Development

19 Course Development 3: Problems Existing Courses: Time Series, Survey Sampling Arts Students may be studying –Economics, Politics, Sociology etc. Science Students –unfamiliar with these subjects 1999 Web Search revealed few, if any, similar courses Textbook? My own background in CSO Course Development

20 Course Development 4: Course Materials National Accounts UN System of National Accounts Eurostat - European System of Accounts Balance of Payments IMF - Balance of Payments Manual, Compilation Guide and Textbook Course Development Books used by official statisticians

21 Course Development 4: Course Materials That Was Then, This is Now - Change in Ireland –Published by the CSO Journal of the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland –Articles by TP Linehan Ex Director General CSO Course Development Other Irish official statistics sources

22 Course Development 4: Course Materials For Example: Index Number Theory Databases Course Development Some parts of the course were easy to prepare

23 The Course

24 Course Content Domesday book IMF, Eurostat Ireland CSO Background reading on UK The Course 1. History

25 Course Content Statistics Act in Ireland, NSB International Organisations –IMF, OECD, ILO, Eurostat etc. CSO as an example of an NSI Including Processing of statistics –Non-response, Missing data, Quality Control, Confidentiality, CAPI, Edifact The Course 2. Legal and Institutional

26 Course Content National Accounts Balance of Payments External Trade Demography Agriculture Building Buisness register Vital Statistics The Course 3. The Statistics Data Bank Industry Labour Market Prices Retail Sales Services Transport & Tourism Non CSO data

27 Course Content History of Cost of Living Indices Laspeyres & Paasche Substitution Bias Fisher Index Chain method CPI calculation - Household Budget Survey Purchasing Power Parities The Course 4. Index Numbers

28 Course Content RDBMS Normalisation, SQL etc... MS ACCESS The Course 5. Databases

29 Course Content Guest Lecturers to reinforce relevance of official statistics Regional Accounts CPI for Pensioners The Course 6. Additional Topics

30 Presentation of the Course Content not Mathematical but Discursive Statistics Students not used to this Lot of material covered in class Wanted to encourage interaction in class Course home page on W W W Course notes on web as PDF files Links to external sites, NSI’s etc. The Course Hence...

31 Assessment

32 Course Assessment 30% Continuous Assessment 70% Final Exam Continuous Assessment consisted of projects to be completed by students in groups of two or three Six weeks to complete Oral Presentation Written Report Assessment

33 Projects in Year One Unemployment Statistics Agricultural Accounts BOP40 - Balance of Payments Survey Tourism Statistics Consumer Price Index and Household Budget Survey Assessment Projects were based on CSO statistics

34 Projects in Year One Descriptions of concepts measured Descriptions of data collection procedures International comparisons Students should also act as consumers and analyse recent statistics Assessment Content

35 Students’ Views

36 Course unlike others in Statistics Department Arts students acclimatised faster Reaction generally positive Some students very interested in area which was new to them Two students chose careers in Official Statistics directly because of this course 3 science students didn’t perform well Student’s Views

37 Lessons Learned/ Alterations

38 Course content changed slightly Examination format changed Projects revised to be more relevant to daily life New projects did not concentrate on one are but combined many to answer a question Lessons Report writing was flawed in first year so guidelines were introduced for second year

39 Projects in Year Two Project 1. Economists warn that the Irish economy is in danger of overheating. They cite the recent increase in inflation as one piece of evidence. Discuss, using as many sources as you can find to back up your opinion. Lessons

40 Projects in Year Two Project 2. Using at least five different indicators compare Ireland’s economic performance since 1990 with the rest of the world and explain why the Irish economy has become known as “The Celtic Tiger” Lessons

41 Projects in Year Two Project 3. There is currently a housing crisis in this country. Construction firms are booming but a few years ago builders couldn’t find jobs. Using as many official statistics as you can, describe the extent of this situation and explain what you think is its cause. Lessons

42 Project Guidelines Size 15 pages 12pt font No photocopied material One page Introduction & Conclusion International Comparisons Remainder of 15 pages discretionary Appendix 1: –Methodologies & Sources used by the NSI’s Appendix 2: Sources for report No Plagiarism, Complete Group Participation, Deadline Lessons

43 2003 Changes in UCD caused cancellation of this course Lessons Future Likely amalgamation of Survey Sampling course with this Official Statistics course

44 Conclusions

45 Conclusions Goals met Students have better understanding of –work done by official statisticians –how the results of that pervade society Textbook ??? Graduates employed in official statistics Guest lecturers

46 Conclusions Conference on Official and Public Statistics Centre for Official Statistics at UCD? Recommend similar courses elsewhere FOR MORE INFO...

47 Hopefully this hasn’t been too boring...


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