Since the launch of our research programme, we have been finding out exactly what problems currently exist around understanding the public good of statistics, such as:

  • difficulties defining and measuring the public good
  • knowing little about how the public actually use statistics in their daily lives
  • not knowing the best way to communicate statistics to the public

Mary Cowan, who is a Research Specialist working on the Research Programme, said:

“It was important for us to identify the problems and gaps that exist so that we could plan the next stages of our work. Now that we have this knowledge, we can act to overcome these problems. We have developed research questions that will help us define projects which will get us closer to achieving our vision of statistics serving the public good.

We know that we won’t achieve this alone, and we know we are not alone in wanting statistics to serve the public good, so that’s why we’ll be working with stakeholders who share our enthusiasm for this topic. The knowledge we gain through this programme will also help statistics producers to identify changes which are needed to ensure their work serves the public good. This could lead to official statistics being seen as more trustworthy, more valuable, and a public asset, which could also increase public support for their data being used in statistics production.”

At OSR, we want to make sure that statistics are relevant, useful, and clearly communicated to the public. The first two parts of our mission are achieved through our regulatory work, and the third part will be achieved through this Research Programme. You can read more about this programme in our Research Programme Overview.