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How statistical literacy, official statistics and self-directed learning shaped social enquiry in the 19th and early 20th century

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2011
JournalStatistical Journal of the International Association for Official Statistics
Journal number3-4
Volume27
Number of pages13
Pages99-111
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Statistical literacy is important for understanding the world around us. Statistical thinking is motivated by realworld problems which may in turn promote the development of new methods of enquiry, and statistical reasoning may be regarded as the cornerstone of evidence based research. In this paper we see how statistical literacy, official statistics and data driven selfdirected study helped to shape social enquiry in the nineteenth century, led to the development of statistical methods for
social data and ultimately contributed to the newly emerging science of statistics of the early twentieth century. In particular the innovations of social researchers in assessing poverty, deprivation and illhealth are highlighted.