# Telling a Story: Turning Numbers Into Information and Knowledge Jon Hall, PARIS21.

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Telling a Story: Turning Numbers Into Information and Knowledge Jon Hall, PARIS21

NSOs: Data Disseminators or Knowledge Builders?

People’s Knowledge of Official Measures of Economic Performance What U.S. Consumers Know About Economic Condition Richard Curtin Research Professor and Director Survey of Consumers - University of Michigan

Statistics are worthless unless they are used!

Boring Not relevant to people’s lives Statistics are often perceived as

The last 2 cm is the most important

PUBLIC DATA DISSEMINATION SCENARIO DATA National Statistical System MEDIA Internet, CD, Books, TV, Newspapers, Presentations INTERPRETERS AUDIENCE Public, Policymakers, Students Journalists, Activists, Researchers, Teachers Source: Gapminder

DATA National Statistical System MEDIA AUDIENCE INTERPRETERS BUT THIS IS NOT THE CASE...BECAUSE... BORING DIFFICULT EXPENSIVE Source: Gapminder

10 112 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?

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

12 Find the story Tell the story Spread the story

13 Find the interesting stories Don’t be afraid to make statistics interesting – they are! But how to find the interesting story?

14 Requires analysis… In a complex society, readers need to be guided through the numerical jungle: “What do the numbers really mean”? Informed users and the general public need explanations, interpretation and comment

15 Analysis also Forces us to look closer at the data: concepts, definitions, measurements, sampling, etc. … and provides feedback into the statistical production process, increasing the quality of statistics, by uncovering errors and mistakes

16 Analysis means … Selecting among all the possible numbers What is… –Important? –Interesting? –New…? Making the figures comparable And comparing: pointing out differences, trends and tendencies –Over time –Between groups

17 Finding the Story Pick an indicator and ask …. What is the level and the rate of change for the nation? How do different subgroups/regions etc differ? What is driving the change? How much change affect other aspects of life? How does this compare with other countries?

18 Telling the Story Short Simple Communication – Use Plain Language

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

20 General motto: KISS! User-friendly presentation of statistics Guide to creating a dissemination strategy and dissemination guidelines for developing and transition countries On www.paris21.org

21 User-friendly? From: 2004 Census, Qatar

22 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?

23 General motto: KISS! Men & Women not Males & Females People not Persons

24 General motto: KISS! A female born in 2010 has a life expectancy at birth of 77.3 years Or In 2010 a baby girl can expect to live to be more than 77.

25 Telling The Story Use new ICT tools and other techniques

Telling The Story Ask 4 questions: What do we have/use traditionally to present our statistical data? Are all these options effectively helping us to reach our different audiences? What are the new possibilities in this area? Are they better suited for our targets and will they help improve communication on statistics?

Gapmider 27 Factbook on Gapminder

Fusion Charts

You Tube

Web 2.0 – Information Explosion Search engines Government and NGO websites Communication tools – youtube for video, Interactive documents Discussion forums on data – Many eyes, swivel Wikis Mash-ups – E.g. google maps plus data on [war, water, mobility…] from 3G phones Information and misinformation explosion

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

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

34 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 can improve the publics trust in statistics

35 Statistician and journalist: Like cat and dog?

36 We must cooperate Journalists are our best friends …

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

38 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

“Statistics are people with the tears washed away” Jon.Hall@oecd.org —Victor Sidel

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