# Telling a Story: Turning Numbers Into Information and Knowledge

Telling a Story: Turning Numbers Into Information and Knowledge Jon Hall, PARIS21 NSOs: Data Disseminators or Knowledge Builders? Peoples 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!

Statistics are often perceived as Boring Not relevant to peoples lives The last 2 cm is the most important PUBLIC DATA DISSEMINATION SCENARIO AUDIENCE Public, Policymakers, Students

MEDIA Internet, CD, Books, TV, Newspapers, Presentations INTERPRETERS Journalists, Activists, Researchers, Teachers DATA Source: Gapminder National Statistical System BUT THIS IS NOT THE CASE...BECAUSE...

AUDIENCE BORING MEDIA DIFFICULT INTERPRETERS EXPENSIVE DATA

Source: Gapminder National Statistical System 5 112 5 7 9 744

7687 8 5 2 3477 8

56 2006=10 5 7 9 112 8 347 779 6,3 56 2006=10 135,4 9

45 + 7 12% 779 6,3 8 744 135,4 9 45 + 7 12%

Tabulation Methods/calculations Statistics Data entry & editing Data Data collection/surveys/adm. registers (Master plan/strategy/MDGs/PRSPs, etc.)

NSOs = Numerical Volcanoes? 10 User-friendly presentation Tabulation Methods/calculations Data entry & editing

Data collection/surveys/adm. registers (Master plan/strategy/MDGs/PRSPs/etc.) 11 Find the story Tell the story Spread the story 12

Find the interesting stories Dont be afraid to make statistics interesting they are! But how to find the interesting story? 13 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

14 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 15 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 16 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? 17 Telling the Story

Short Simple Communication Use Plain Language 18 General motto: KISS! Keep It Short and Simple! This applies to:

Tables Graphs Titles Text 19 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 20 User-friendly? From: 2004 Census, Qatar

21 User-friendly? Literacy rate. Adult men and women Men Women 1935

30.8 8.0 1945 44.3 13.5 1950

47.7 16.7 1955 56.3 21.3

1960 54.8 21.1 1965 64.7 27.6

: : etc. From: Statistical Indicators 1923-2004, Turkstat 22

General motto: KISS! Men & Women not Males & Females People not Persons 23 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. 24 Telling The Story Use new ICT tools and other techniques 25 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 Factbook on Gapminder

27 Fusion Charts You Tube Spreading the Story 30 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 The role of the media Traditional dissemination model Media The public Libraries NSI

Education Government/org. Business 32 New dissemination model Media The

public Libraries NSI Education Government/org. Business 33

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 34 Statistician and journalist:

Like cat and dog? 35 We must cooperate Journalists are our best friends 36 Two basic rules when communicating

with the media: Equal treatment No pre-release access Establish a release calendar 37 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 38 Statistics are people with the tears washed away Victor Sidel [email protected]

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