1504.0 - Methodological News, Jun 2007  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 06/07/2007   
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Methodology Partnership between ABS and University of Wollongong

The Methodology Development Partnership with the Centre for Statistical and Survey Methodology (CSSM) at the University of Wollongong (UoW) was set up in agreement between ABS and UoW in December 2004 (See MD News, March 2005) and has made very good progress. A key milestone was in March 2006 with Ray Chambers taking up his appointment as the first Professor of Statistical Methodology - the chair funded by ABS under the agreement. (See MD News June 2005).

Two successful annual symposia have been held, the first on the Effect of Survey Design on Analysis in November 2005 (see MD News December 2005) and the second on the Effective Use of Auxiliary Information in Survey Estimation in October 2006. A third on Non-Parametric Estimation and Analysis is planned for October 2007. CSSM leads the symposia and ABS staff have provided case studies which use the methods presented in the symposium.

CSSM staff (Ray Chambers, David Steel and Robert Clark) have visited ABS's Canberra office about every six weeks to conduct 'clinics' where ABS staff discuss methodological issues and problems with them. The sessions have been very effective, providing practical insightful advice and leading to continuing contact on the issues. We are exploring ways to make them even more effective.

CSSM is presenting two day courses at ABS. One on Multi-Level Modelling, by Mark Tranmer of the University of Manchester, was held in December 2006 with another day of consulting. Others on Advanced Survey Estimation, Research Methods and Logistic Regression are being presented in 2007.

CSSM also mentors a small number of ABS methodologists. Three have been mentored so far and found the experience very worthwhile, especially benefiting from visits to the well landscaped and architecturally coherent UoW campus.

ABS has benefited from visitors to CSSM also visiting ABS. Since 2006, there have been visits from Hukum Chandra, Fred Smith and James Brown, all from the University of Southampton and Mark Tranmer from the University of Manchester.

Senior MD staff have visited UoW twice to plan for the coming year and to discuss research directions. CSSM have presented two seminars at ABS and ABS staff have presented three at Wollongong.

CSSM and ABS successfully applied for an Australian Research Council Linkage grant to fund a PhD scholarship on Missing Data in Household Surveys. Luise Lago, formerly in MD, was awarded the scholarship and started in March 2007.

Two joint research projects have been instigated, one on the Effect on Analyses of Errors in Linking Units and the other on Combining Administrative and Survey Data.

There are other activities of the CSSM which are of interest and benefit to ABS, but are not formally part of the ABS /UoW agreement.
CSSM organises quarterly meetings in Goulburn for survey statisticians from Canberra, Sydney and Wollongong. The format is four presentations and discussion with the number of participants limited to 25. The fourth will be in July 2007 and ABS staff have presented at two of them.

CSSM has had two consultancy contracts with ABS one for Robert Clark to enable the use of the STATA package in ABS's Remote Access Data Laboratory and the other for David Steel to review the estimation method developed for the Population Census Post Enumeration Survey.

For further information, please contact Bill Gross on (02) 6252 6302.