8104.0 - Research and Experimental Development, Businesses, Australia, 2015-16 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/09/2017   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product

TECHNICAL NOTE DATA QUALITY

NON-SAMPLING ERROR

Non-sampling errors may arise as a result of errors in the reporting, recording or processing of data. These errors can be introduced through inadequacies in the questionnaire, treatment of non-response, inaccurate reporting by data providers, errors in the application of survey procedures, incorrect recording of answers and errors in data capture and processing.

The extent to which non-sampling error affects the results is difficult to measure. Every effort is made to minimise non-sampling error by careful design and testing of the collection instrument, the use of efficient operating procedures and systems, and the use of appropriate methodologies.

When interpreting the statistics in this release, the reliability and comparability of the estimates may be affected by the following specific non-sampling errors:

  • Many businesses provided estimates due to a lack of separately recorded data on R&D activity.
  • Some businesses may not have reported data as per the definition of R&D used in this survey. This is potentially a result of slight differences in the survey definition of R&D and those used in industry R&D schemes for the allocation of grants, and the AusIndustry administered R&D Tax Incentive scheme for tax deductibility for specific R&D activities.
  • Data were self-classified by businesses to Type of Activity, Fields of Research and Socio-economic Objective at the time of reporting. Some businesses may have experienced difficulty in classifying their R&D projects. The ABS makes every effort to ensure correct and consistent interpretation and reporting of these data by applying consistent processing methodologies.
  • The estimation method for R&D related overhead costs varied across businesses and reference periods.


SAMPLING ERROR


As the estimates in this publication are based on information relating to a sample of businesses, they are subject to sampling variability, that is, they may differ from the estimates that would have been produced if the information had been obtained from all businesses. 

The difference between estimates obtained from a sample of businesses, and the estimates that would have been produced if the information had been obtained from all businesses, is called sampling error. This should not be confused with inaccuracy that may occur because of imperfections in reporting by respondents or in processing by the ABS. Please see the section on Non-Sampling Error for more detail regarding these types of errors. The expected magnitude of the sampling error associated with any estimate can be estimated from the sample results. One measure of sampling error is given by the standard error (SE), which indicates the degree to which an estimate may vary from the value that would have been obtained from a full enumeration (the 'true' figure). There are about two chances in three that a sample estimate differs from the true value by less than one standard error, and about nineteen chances in twenty that the difference will be less than two standard errors. 

An example of the use of a standard error is as follows (all figures shown are in $'000). From the publication, the estimated total expenditure on R&D was $16,659,296 with a standard error of $286,540. There would be about two chances in three that a full enumeration would have given an estimate in the range $16,372,756 to $16,945,836 and about nineteen chances in twenty that it would be in the range $16,086,216 to $17,232,376.

In this publication, indications of sampling variability are measured by relative standard errors (RSEs). The relative standard error is a useful measure in that it provides an immediate indication of the percentage errors likely to have occurred due to sampling, and thus avoids the need to refer to the size of the estimate. RSEs are obtained using the formula: RSE = SE/estimate x 100. RSEs are shown in the Relative Standard Error tables in this section. RSEs for all data included in this release (including data cube content) are available upon request. 

Estimates with RSEs between 25% and 50% are annotated to indicate they are subject to high sample variability and should be used with caution. In addition, estimates with RSEs greater than 50% have been included and annotated to indicate they are considered too unreliable for general use. In the publication, the symbol '*' indicates an estimate has an RSE of between 25% and 50%, and estimates with the symbol '**' have an RSE greater than 50%. All cells in the data cubes with RSEs greater than 25% contain a comment indicating the size of the RSE. These cells can be identified by a red indicator in the corner of the cell. The comment appears when the mouse pointer hovers over the cell.

RELATIVE STANDARD ERROR, Business expenditure on R&D - Summary statistics, 2015-16

2015-16
%

Employment size
0 - 4 persons
6.05
5 - 19 persons
4.56
20 - 199 persons
3.47
200 or more persons
2.60
Type of expenditure
Capital expenditure
Land, buildings and other structures
5.81
Other capital expenditure
4.55
Total capital expenditure
3.78
Current expenditure
Labour costs
2.57
Other current expenditure
1.43
Total current expenditure
1.78
Source of funds
Own funds
1.74
Other business
11.38
Commonwealth government
6.20
State and local government
16.47
Other Australian(a)
28.06
Overseas
9.43
Location of expenditure(b)
New South Wales
3.66
Victoria
2.91
Queensland
3.61
South Australia
7.28
Western Australia
2.81
Tasmania
9.39
Northern Territory
12.71
Australian Capital Territory
11.47
Overseas
4.78
Type of activity
Pure basic research
6.34
Strategic basic research
3.14
Applied research
1.95
Experimental development
2.20
Total expenditure on R&D
1.72

(a) Includes funding from Joint business/government, Higher education and Private non-profit organisations.
(b) For the definition of Location, refer to the Explanatory Notes for details.



RELATIVE STANDARD ERROR, Gross expenditure on R&D - 2015-16

2015-16
%

Business(a)
1.72
Government
. .
Higher education
. .
Private non-profit
. .
Total
0.92

. . not applicable
(a) Business is the only sector collected as a sample survey.


COMPARABILITY OF ESTIMATES OVER TIME

The comparability of estimates over time may be affected by the following changes in classifications:
  • Employment size classification groups are defined on data reported in the reference period, and as such businesses may be categorised to different employment size groups across different reference periods.
  • Businesses can also be classified to different industry divisions across survey reference periods as a consequence of structural change. Refer to the Explanatory Notes tab for more information.