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Statisticians working on 'public' numbers — interview participants wanted

  • 21 Oct 2019 12:23 PM
    Reply # 8068836 on 7986357
    There should be a chapter on reactions to almost meaningless changes in unemployment. Every month we have changes of plus or minus 0.1 ppt which are unimportant considering the 95% CI for change is plus or minus 0.2. Changes over at least 3 months would be required to determine if any meaningful change was happening in the economy.
  • 16 Oct 2019 12:16 PM
    Message # 7986357

    Hello all,

    I’m Sam Vilkins, PhD Candidate at the Australian National University. My thesis is on the ‘public life of numbers’, or how statistics get disseminated and discussed in the public sphere.

    I’m looking to interview statisticians and researchers who work on public numbers in Australia. Anything from the ABS labour force surveys to thinktank economic predictions, i.e. work which usually ends up in public debate.

    I’ll stress that I don’t wish to ask political questions per se, but discuss how people work with, present and communicate their statistics, especially when they know they regularly end up in mainstream media/political debate. Things like where they gather sources, or how error is presented — and why. 

    I would hope this research will serve to be useful to its participants, and the interviews shouldn’t be too disruptive, around an hour. I’ll be conducting them ideally in person any time from now to mid next year. I'm based in Canberra, but will be in Brisbane briefly 28-30 October, and can organise to visit other capital cities if there's interest. 

    If you’re interested yourself, know anyone relevant I should contact, or have any other questions, please email me at

    There is more information about the project here:



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