1504.0 - Methodological News, Dec 2001  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/11/2001   
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DISCOVERING NEEDS FOR ANALYTICAL WORK

An important issue for the analysis program is how it can remain targeted at ABS priorities. In particular, how can we ensure that:

  • the prototypes of analytical products that we are building will fill the most important gaps in the mix of statistical products?
  • the analytical methods that we are developing will deliver the most valuable improvements to statistical processes?

Our colleagues in some ABS workgroups are adopting a three-phase approach to scanning their environment and discovering needs for statistical development work. They are creating:
  • information models - which encapsulate the key entities and relationships in a field, and depict how they might be given statistical expression. Such models provide a systematic view of the potential demand for statistics.
  • information maps - which describe the available ABS and nonABS datasets in a field. Such maps provide a systematic view of the supply of statistics.
  • information development plans - which spell out the activities that will be undertaken to address gaps and overlaps in statistics.

This intelligence flows into the annual strategic directions statements for social and economic statistics and into PSG and ESG work programs. And linking it to the analysis work program offers the best prospect of our discovering analytical opportunities that would deliver greatest value to the ABS.

Analysis Branch has carved up the statistical universe into "portfolios", each overseen by a member of our senior management team. Each portfolio manager is responsible for scanning the subject matter environment to discover the emerging needs for analytical work. This entails:
  • understanding our clients' information models/maps/plans, strategic directions and work programs;
  • developing a map of the demand for new analytical products or methods; and
  • assessing the possibilities for analysis projects.

We are also scanning the professional literature and talking with researchers in other statistical agencies and universities to understand analytical methods that might be useful to the ABS. An article in the next issue of this newsletter will summarise what we have discovered so far about emerging methods.

For more information, please contact Ken Tallis on (02) 6252 7290.

E-mail: ken.tallis@abs.gov.au