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Durham University

School of Education

Staff Profile

Publication details for Prof Jim Ridgway

Ridgway, J., Nicholson, J., Sutherland, S. & Hedgers, S. (2015), Strategies for Public Engagement with Official Statistics, in Sorto, M.A. eds, IASE Satellite Conference. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, International Association for Statistical Education (IASE), Rio de Janeiro.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

High quality data are available on a very wide range of topics. However, there are barriers to be
overcome before citizens engage with these data. First is access; data are often distributed across
different websites. Second is exposure; data need to be presented in the most commonly used
information sources. Third is engagement – creating a climate where citizens are interested in
evidence. The House of Commons Library (Library) and Durham University are collaborating in
order to promote better use of data. The Library is the first port of call for politicians; their blogs
and tweets are a major information resource for journalists. A website created ahead of the UK
general election provides a rich resource for data at constituency level. Quizzes have been created
which run on smartphones, in an effort to engage a broader section of people in evidence-based
discussions. We discuss strategies designed to encourage public engagement with official statistics.