Newsletter 01/2018 - Statistics in Decision Making, Article 1
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This is the first of a series of several articles on Statistics in Decision Making. In this first article we will have the help of the Australian Bureau of Statistics to introduce the subject.
Statistics helps in the decision-making process by making it possible to create numerical benchmarks, and by enabling the monitoring and evaluation of the progress of an action that has been taken. It is also essential to ensure that the actions reach their initial goals, and to identify areas that need improvement.
Statistics can be used in decision making along the different stages of the process of elaboration of actions.
Stage 1 - Identify and understand the problem Statistics can help identify issues that need to be addressed, and to develop a deeper understanding of the problem by analyzing trends over time or patterns in the data.
Stage 2 - Define the scope of action Statistics provide evidence to support the implementation of an action or change an existing one, analyzing the size of the problem and assessing the urgency of its resolution.
Stage 3 - Formulate the response to the problem Once a problem has been identified and recognized, the next step is to determine the response to it. In this stage, an in-depth statistical analysis in parallel with a consultation with the stakeholders is needed to gain a full understanding of the extent of the problem.
Statistics supports the choice of the best response(s), the implementation strategy and the creation of goals, and the development of indicators (numerical benchmarks) to measure the success of the response.
Stage 4 - Monitor and evaluate the response
Once the response has been implemented, monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of the response is performed using Statistics, which allows you to effectively measure the progress of the response action, if the goals are being met, or if there is a need for course correction.
HOW TO USE STATISTICS TO MAKE DATA-BASED DECISIONS
The data availability does not automatically mean good decision-making.
The use of Statistics to make informed decisions depends on skills and knowledge in order to be able to access, understand, analyze, and communicate this statistical information.
Know the data - Know those that serve your needs, what is available, access the data that is appropriate to what you need and know how to evaluate the quality of the available data.
Understand statistical concepts - Understand and apply statistical concepts (from easy to complex ones), understand and interpret graphical representations of data.
Analyze, interpret, and evaluate statistical information - analyze the limitations of data sources; identify issues or problems that require information, specify goals, and formulate expectations; choose appropriate analytical techniques and perform data analysis; evaluate the results of the analyzes in regard goals and expectations; review the objectives and restart the data analysis cycle as appropriate.
And, finally, Communicate the analysis and the learning obtained from them.
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Read more about the subject of this Newsletter:
1) "HOW GOOD STATISTICS CAN ENHANCE THE DECISION MAKING PROCESS", Australian Bureau of Statistics, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/lookup/1500.0chapter42010
2) "The Advantages of Statistics in Business", http://smallbusiness.chron.com/advantages-statistics-business-18698.html