Gain fundamental data skills to support effective decision making
Conference Date
Wednesday 29th April 2020
Early Bird - Save $200
Book by 17/04/20


Data literacy and skills are critical in supporting evidence based decision making. At all levels across the APS, the ability to effectively understand, interpret and report on data is essential for driving decisions that achieve the best outcomes for citizens.

With an increased focus on data skills and capabilities in the APS, the APS Data Skills & Capabilities for Non Data Specialists one day workshop aims to enhance the understanding of and the ability to interpret quantitative evidence used in economic reports. The emphasis is on assessing whether the evidence is sufficient, its quality, and how it can be inferred for decision-making.

One of the key policy questions we focus on is whether or not a particular policy or program improves individual lives. This is a fundamental question that has relevance across many policy domains, including social policy, economic policy, health, education, development assistance and many more. Such causal questions are surprisingly difficult to answer. We look at the data collection process, challenges in using socioeconomic data, and what data exploratory analysis tells us. We distinguish correlation and causality and then focus on the main problem of causality in policy analysis – how to deal with selection bias. We introduce some main techniques used to quantify the causal effects of policy interventions, with a focus on their uses and limitations. The course is highly applied with examples drawn from a wide range of policy domains.

What will you take away from attending this workshop?
  • Improved ability to assess the quality of data in economic reports (based on activities in session 1)
  • Improved understanding of basic statistics and their inference in economic reports (based on activities in sessions 2 and 3)
  • Improved understanding of major contemporary approaches to the measurement of the impact of government policies (based on activities in all sessions)
  • Improved understanding of empirical research on policy evaluation and the validity of causal claims in quantitative research (based on activities in all sessions)
Who will attend?
APS employees working in non data specialist roles with an interest in developing or refining their data skills and capabilities. This course is well suited to those with roles and responsibility for:
  • Research
  • Policy
  • Reporting
  • Performance
  • Analysis
  • Senior Management

Attend to learn:

  • Demystify the complexity around data concepts & methods
  • Assess how evidence can be inferred for decision making
  • Understand what you can derive from exploratory data analysis
  • Unpack the different data collection processes & how to ensure your process is fit for purpose
  • Learn how to manage & avoid selection bias
  • Improve your ability to interpret quantitative evidence
  • Apply your learning - connect theory with practical examples & case studies

Key Speakers

Dr Hoa Nguyen
Senior Lecturer, Crawford School of Public Policy
Australian National University


What People Are Saying

  • “Data skills and capability are as critically important for the Australian Public Service (APS) as anywhere else. Data literacy across the APS will have a critical role in supporting evidencebased decision making, developing more efficient government policy and delivering services that meet the needs of people across Australia.”

    The Hon Angus Taylor MP
    Data Skills and Capability in the Australian Public Service Report


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