Engaging with users of demographic research

Organised by Cecilia MacIntyre, National Records of Scotland &  Emma Emery, Royal Statistical Society 

9.00am Tuesday 8 September

This workshop will include introductory presentations from producers of statistics and research on how users inform production of statistics or research and how the results are taken up to make an impact. 

1. Engaging the layman with demographic research; lessons from a case study of an interactive exhibition
J. C.
Falkingham, T. McGowan, G.. T. West & A. Edel, University of Southampton

In an age where demonstrable impact and communication of research to lay-audiences is of increased importance, we present key findings from the UK tour of the ‘How to get to 100 and enjoy it’ exhibition. This project is an example of best practice for Knowledge Exchange delivery using innovative technology to engage users with social science research. Through ten interactive stations, the exhibition showcased implications of living longer for work, health and family life via easy-to-understand texts and activities. In this presentation we highlight effective methods of communicating demographic research to a variety of lay audiences. We demonstrate the importance of using a combination of data presentation tools to appeal to a range of audiences. Drawing on data collected from a survey of over 1,500 exhibition visitors we assess the outcomes of user engagement. Survey results confirm that the exhibition succeeded in raising public awareness and dispelling myths about population ageing.  Users report increased knowledge about population issues and a wider understanding of how population change affects them.  Practitioners state reevaluated beliefs and improved collaboration likely to affect their future practice. Our findings suggest that the chosen methods of user engagement must be clearly matched to the needs of the user group in order to increase the depth and reach of impact. The study revealed a demand for further communication of research targeted at the layman.

Email: j.c.falkingham@soton.ac.uk  

2.  How new methods of disseminating migration statistics have increased the value of the statistics
Peter Morgan & Nicola Wright, Office for National Statistics 

This presentation will look look at how the Migration Statistics Unit engage with users of their migration statistics. It will cover why they see user engagement as important, and explain the different methods engaging with users, from traditional forms such as
consultations and emails, to more recent  innovations such as using data visualisation, the new visual ONS site and social media. It will also discuss the impact of the various approaches and feedback received.

3. NRS user consultation findings (& National Records of Scotland) 

Following the presentations, there will be an interactive element where the audience discuss a few different examples of new methods of dissemination and engagement and give their views on the strengths and weaknesses.