Thursday, July 16, 2009

Turning Data Into Knowledge

Great column about a conference devoted to ways to turn statistics and data into knowledge. The conference, Seminar on Innovative Approaches to Turn Statistics into Knowledge, has a site here and even better, has some online versions of presentations here. I skimmed a couple and hope to dig deeper in a day or so, steal some ideas for my own journalism classes.

According to the site:
The seminar should contribute to the development of tools to help people transform statistics into knowledge and decisions. A first condition for statistics to be used this way is that relevant statistics become known, available, and understood by wider audiences. The seminar is held in the context of the Global Project on “Measuring the Progress of Societies”. It should contribute to one of the goals quoted in the Istanbul Declaration: "produce a broader, shared, public understanding of changing conditions, while highlighting areas of significant change or inadequate knowledge".
We use lots of tricks to help people understand what's happening, such as maps that summarize statistics, or drag-down menus to help people find, for example, how their local school matches up with other schools. The end result is helping people make sense of their world.

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