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The Seminar on New Frontiers for Statistical Data Collection

31 October - 2 November 2012 in Geneva, Switzerland

Link to Papers and Presentations of the 2012 Data Collection Seminar

The Seminar on New Frontiers in Statistical Data Collection was held in Geneva, Switzerland from 31 October to 2 November 2012. It was attended by participants from: Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Canada, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States of America. The European Commission was represented by Eurostat. Representatives of The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the International Labour Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank attended the seminar. An invited independent expert attended from the Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change/The Open University.

The agenda contained the following substantive topics:

  • (i) New data sources
  • (ii) New methods and technologies
  • (iii) Legal and institutional aspects of using new data sources
  • (iv) Data collection using mixed modes and multiple sources
  • (v) Economies of scale from using common tools and methods

Ideas proposed for future work activities to be led by UNECE included:

  • Development of a wiki for sharing information, best practices and case studies
  • Using the questionnaire responses as the basis for case studies
  • Coordinating the sharing and re-use of existing manuals, guidelines etc. in an electronic library of materials
  • Joint seminars or workshops with other organizations. 

Topics proposed for the focus of future activities included, amongst others:

  • Management of data collection activities
  • Experiences of centralised data collection
  • Organization of mixed-mode collection
  • Research on mode effects
  • Confidentiality and data protection issues
  • Border between “Collect” and “Process”
  • Faster collection for more timely statistics
  • New sources
  • Standards for data collection and management
  • Use of “Big Data”.


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