House of Commons Library

Statistical Literacy Guide

Published Thursday, January 22, 2009

This guide is a compilation of notes on individual subjects produced by the Social & General Statistics Section of the Library. Its aim is to help MPs and their staff better understand statistics that are used in press stories, research, debates, news releases, reports, books etc.

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This guide is a compilation of notes on individual subjects produced by the Social & General Statistics Section of the Library. Its aim is to help MPs and their staff better understand statistics that are used in press stories, research, debates, news releases, reports, books etc.

While a few sections of this guide show how to make basic calculations to help produce statistics, the focus is to help readers when they consume statistics; something that we all do on a daily basis. It is these skills, the skills of statistical literacy, which can help us all be better statistical consumers – those who understand basic concepts and are more engaged in debates which use statistical evidence, are less passive and accepting of arguments that use statistics, better at spotting and avoiding common statistical pitfalls, able to make quick calculations of their own and have an idea where to look for data.

Commons Briefing papers SN04944

Author: Paul Bolton

Topic: Statistics policy

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