• Strategies for improving utilization of computerized statistical data by the social science community

      Robbin, Alice (Butterworths, 1981)
      In recent decades there has been a notable expansion of statistical data produced by the public and private sectors for administrative, research, policy and evaluation programmes. This is due to advances in relatively inexpensive and efficient data collection and management of computer-readable statistical data. Corresponding changes have not occurred in the management of data collection, preservation, description and dissemination. As a result, the process by which data become accessible to social researchers and others is frustrating, time consuming, and inefficient. This paper describes the reasons for this situation: the problem-solving workstyle of social data users, the nature of the data and their relationship to computer technology, and an inchoate social science information infrastructure. Since statistical data play an increasingly important role in social research and policy decisions, social science information specialists must be prepared to meet the computer-readable statistical data user's needs. Four strategies are recommended for improving utilization of these data: improving the quality of statistical evidence, educating information professionals and end-users in numerical information, using the existing information infrastructure to preserve and disseminate data, and developing retrieval tools for improving access to information about social data.