Using statistics in public relations
Statistical information and analysis is often the subject of public relations output, whether it is to raise awareness, influence behaviour, inform decision makers, or help others hold organisations to account.
Effective use of statistics can both achieve day-to-day goals and contribute over time to enhanced reputation. Good and accurate use of statistics can help to establish credibility and to increase influence. Poor use of statistics can lead to loss of trust and reduced authority.
In collaboration with the Market Research Society, the Royal Statistical Society developed guidelines on using statistics in communications for the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR).
The Society has worked with the CIPR's Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics group to deliver workshops on the basics of statistics. Future workshops will be advertised here.
Workshop, 17 May 2012
This workshop covered a wide range of issues including:
Statistical basics: averages - mean, median and mode, and when each is a better choice; percentages - and how to use them without causing confusion; absolute and relative risks - and how to avoid being alarmist and inaccurate; odds-ratios
Using surveys in PR campaigns: sample sizes; representative samples - and why self-selecting surveys are often misleading; margins of error - and judging if a difference seen in your sample is statistically meaningful
Sourcing, analysing and visualising data: where to find data and simple ways to analyse it; how good graphics will help tell the story in the text
Avoiding statistical pitfalls: common mistakes that can undermine your messages - and reputation
Download the main presentation (Powerpoint format, 9.5Mb)
Download the presentation on odds-ratios (PDF format, 79kB)