Understanding Data and Basic Statistics

Do you feel out of your depth when it comes to looking at data and basic statistics? Do you want to be able to use Excel and Stata? Are you interested in brushing up your skills in this area, or learning new ones, in a practical and supportive environment? If so, this course may be right for you. 

This practical, two-day workshop will present an overview of the manipulations of data that are often required prior to statistical analysis. Topics will include dealing with outliers, combining data from different sources, calculating annual average growth rates, weighting and smoothing data and constructing indexes.  It was also cover basic statistical methods used in describing data such as measures of central tendency and dispersion, correlation and the use of dummy variables in regression analysis.  

The workshop will involve practical exercises on computers using both Excel and Stata.  It will include an introduction to Stata for participants not familiar with that programme.  The exercises will use examples based on data on earnings of workers and on productivity at the industry level.

The workshop is suitable for people in both the public and private sector, including policy advisers, business people and those working in the third sector, whose role involves the use of data. Professional economists and social researchers, without a strong quantitative background, might find it valuable. We also think it will be of interest to journalists, writing about the economy and business, and those in communications’ roles. Each day runs from 10am - 5pm. 


Course Outline

Day 1 – Data Manipulation

Morning - Common problems in using data
This session will begin with a discussion of data as samples from populations, observing data and detecting outliers, and issues that arise in merging data different sources. It will then discuss methods to summarise data, both cross sectionally and through time. Estimating growth rates involves an introduction to the use of logarithmic and exponential functions. The session will end by presenting methods to construct indexes, including Laspeyres, Paasche, Fisher and Tornqvist indexes.

Afternoon – Exercises on data manipulation using Excel

This will involve exercises on each of the topics covered in the morning session. The tutor will give an overview of how the exercises should be tackled. Participants will then be asked to do these at their own pace, with the tutor assisting when required. Full answers to the exercises will be given at the end of the session. 


Day 2 – Statistical Inference

Morning – Methods for statistical inference

This session will introduce the ideas of sampling distribution, the normal and t distributions, a decision framework for testing hypotheses, correlation and the method of ordinary least squares regressions. 

Afternoon – Exercises on statistical inference using STATA

In this session the participants will do some exercises by replicating the commands used by the tutor and some additional exercises on their own. The tutor will feedback on answers during the session.

For further information or to book, please contact us.



Course Summary: 

  • Date: 11 - 12 December 2017
  • Location: Central London
  • Course code: ONS/BDS
  • Price:
    Standard rate £600 + VAT
    Students £100 + VAT* (see below)
    Concessionary rate (ONS Staff, RSS Members, RES Members and Academics) £400 + VAT

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*student fee, travel and accommodation reimbursement may be available, subject to an application process. Contact us for more information

**Concessionary rate for Academics / RES Members / RSS Members / ONS Staff