1504.0 - Methodological News, Jun 2002  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 28/06/2002   
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GATEKEEPERS FOR EMERGING ANALYTICAL METHODS

As well as maintaining our traditional skills, Analysis Branch must acquire expertise in new methods - both in methods that have recently emerged in the literature and some not-so-recent methods that we have not before applied to ABS work. One scheme we are experimenting with is to appoint "gatekeepers" whose role is to develop their own understanding of the emerging field, then bring that knowledge back to the branch and to the ABS at large.

A gatekeeper's tasks include trawling the literature, and monitoring relevant Internet sites or subscribing to discussion groups, then encapsulating the emerging methods for their ABS colleagues. A gatekeeper's output may be in the form of, say, a guided, annotated reading list, a roadmap of the field, a presentation or a series of tutorials. The gatekeeper may also act as an expert technical adviser to a project team that wishes to apply the new technique.

Every six months or so, the branch lists emerging areas of analytical technique most relevant to our forward work program, and decides which it would be most worthwhile to invest in. We then call for expressions of interest from people who may act as gatekeepers in the chosen fields.

In the current trial, five gatekeepers are working on three different methodological fields: multi-level analyses; analytical methods that take account of complex survey designs; and 'natural experiments' for evaluation. The trial will run for six months with interim reports from all gatekeepers due in July 2002. The trial coordinators, Jonathon Khoo and Tala Talgaswatta, will evaluate the trial and recommend whether the scheme should be continued.

For further information on the gatekeepers trial, please contact Jonathon Khoo on (02) 6252 5443 or Tala Talgaswatta on (02) 6252 5376.

Email: tala.talgaswatta@abs.gov.au, j.khoo@abs.gov.au