1504.0 - Methodological News, Jun 2009  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 03/07/2009   
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Making Quality Visible Update

In the March 2009 edition of Methodological News, an update was provided on the Making Quality Visible initiative underway in the ABS. This article focuses on one aspect of the Making Quality Visible project, which is the Australian Bureau of Statistics Data Quality Framework (ABS DQF), recently released on the ABS website (ABS Data Quality Framework cat. no. 1520.0).

The ABS DQF is based on the Statistics Canada Quality Assurance Framework (2002) and the European Statistics Code of Practice (2005). It is comprised of seven dimensions of quality which are: Institutional Environment, Relevance, Timeliness, Accuracy, Coherence, Interpretability, and Accessibility.

The ABS DQF can be used to:

    • define the quality of a data item or collection of data items;
    • assess data in the context of a data need; and
    • identify data gaps and areas for future improvement.

It is important to note that the level of importance assigned to each dimension of the ABS DQF is subjective and will depend on the purpose of the person using it.

The following gives an overview of the seven dimensions of quality:

Institutional Environment- refers to the institutional and organisational factors which may have a significant influence on the effectiveness and credibility of the agency producing the statistics.

Relevance- refers to how well the statistical product or release meets the needs of users in terms of the concept(s) measured, and the population(s) represented.

Timeliness- refers to the delay between the reference period (to which the data pertain) and the date at which the data become available; and the delay between the advertised date and the date at which the data become available (i.e., the actual release date).

Accuracy - refers to the degree to which the data correctly describe the phenomenon they were designed to measure.

Coherence - refers to the internal consistency of a statistical collection, product or release, as well as its comparability with other sources of information, within a broad analytical framework and over time.

Interpretability - refers to the availability of information to help provide insight into the data.

Accessibility - refers to the ease of access to data by users, including the ease with which the existence of information can be ascertained, as well as the suitability of the form or medium through which information can be accessed.

For more detail on the dimensions and uses of the ABS DQF please see the ABS Data Quality Framework (cat. no. 1520.0), or contact . Narrisa GIlbert on (02) 6252 5283or narrisa.gilbert@ans.gov.au.