I hate numbers, can I learn to love numbers?? Yikes! All I wanted, was to enlighten myself with the Canadian system of government and enhance my public service career. I realize STATISTICS is a hurdle I have to cross! “This class isn’t just about numbers” ( My Prof Justin said), “…this course aims to make you an intelligent consumer and manager of statistical analysis through critical assessment and working first-hand with data…”. Too early to tell if I believe him. In the meantime, I am saddled with the task of writing on the benefit of statistical analysis for effective public administration. So here it is.
First, what is Statistics? According to the UCI Centre for Statistical Consulting, “Statistics is the science concerned with developing and studying methods for collecting, analyzing, interpreting and presenting empirical data”. “Statistics is also used in tasks such as designing experiments, surveys and planning the collection and analysis of data from these”.
Public Administration on the other hand deals with the implementation of government’s policies. Is there a meeting point for both? Yes!
Given the responsibility of public administrators to effectively carry out their duties, they need to make informed decisions based on the “best available evidences”. To determine these evidences, they would oftentimes have to take in a lot of information (data), and be able to analyze that data and draw up informed decisions in either presenting a given policy, and/or the implementation of it. They also need to know what kind of information to collect, how to collect it (for example, qualitative or quantitative?) and be able to present the data into policy development.
I believe this is where statistics comes in to help public administrators effectively carry out those informed decisions, by providing the tools they need in analyzing several factors when coming up with public programs, making policy recommendations or building brand new policies. Statistics is what I believe bridges that gap. Whether in determining the demographics that will be the targeted group of a given policy, identifying stakeholders, or just trying to understand patterns and trends to make decisions for a far future, statistics will bridge that gap.
I am keeping an open mind, ready to learn. I just want to be the best public administrator, and if Statistics is the hurdle I have to cross, bring it on!