The RSS ‘Parliament Counts’ campaign delivered a training session on interpreting data and statistical concepts at the Welsh Assembly last week.
Ed Swires-Hennessy, a former RSS council member and course leader of the Society’s popular ‘Presenting Data’ course, delivered the training session, aimed at Assembly Members and their staff. His session covered some basic statistical concepts including percentages vs percentage points, interpreting survey results, confidence intervals, ratios, the difference between mean/median/mode, and some concepts in probability.
‘Understanding how to use and present statistical data is an important part of informing political debate,’ said Abigail Phillips, professional development project manager at the Welsh Assembly. ‘The Assembly Member support staff who attended the training session were given an overview of how to use data effectively, and how to present statistics in a meaningful way.’
The session was the fourth training session that the RSS has held for parliamentarians and their staff as part of its ongoing Parliament Counts initiative. The campaign, which launched prior to the 2015 general election, encouraged people to write to their local election candidates and ask them to commit to statistical training, if elected. The campaign resulted in thousands of messages sent to candidates around the country during the election campaign and held three training sessions in Westminster for MPs and staff in October 2015 and January 2016. The RSS plans to hold a further session for Scottish MSPs in Holyrood early next year.