Statistical Glossary







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Quality audit

The quality audit is a systematic, independent and documented process for obtaining quality audit evidence (records, statements of fact or other information, which are relevant to the quality audit criteria and verifiable) and evaluating it objectively to determine the extent to which the quality audit criteria (set of policies, procedures or requirements) are fulfilled.

Accessibility

Accessibility is an attribute of statistics describing the set of conditions and modalities by which users can obtain data. According to the European Statistics Code of Practice, European statistics should be presented in a clear and understandable form, disseminated in a suitable and convenient manner, available and accessible on an impartial basis with supporting metadata and guidance.

Accuracy

Accuracy is an attribute of statistics measuring the closeness of estimates to the unknown true values. According to the European Statistics Code of Practice, European statistics must accurately and reliably portray reality.

Adequacy of resources

Adequacy of resources is the characteristic of a statistical institute of authority which enables them to meet statistical requirements. These resources include staff, financial and computing resources and must be adequate both in magnitude and in quality.

Appropriate statistical procedures

Appropriate statistical procedures, implemented from data collection to data validation, are those procedures which underpin quality statistics.

Benchmarking

Benchmarking is a methodology that is used to search for best practices. Benchmarking can be applied to strategies, policies, operations, processes, products, and organizational structures. By finding and adopting best practices you can improve your organization's overall performance.

Clarity

Clarity is an attribute of statistics describing the extent to which easily comprehensible metadata are available, where these metadata are necessary to give a full understanding of statistical data. Clarity is sometimes referred to as 'interpretability'. It refers to the data information environment: whether data are accompanied by appropriate metadata, including information on their quality, and the extent to which additional assistance is provided to users by data providers.

Coherence

Coherence is an attribute of statistics measuring the adequacy of the data to be reliably combined in different ways and for various uses. European statistics should be consistent internally, over time and comparable between regions and countries; it should be possible to combine and make joint use of related data from different sources.

Commitment to quality

Commitment to quality is the characteristic of a statistical institute of authority through which they systematically and regularly identify strengths and weaknesses to continuously improve process and product quality.

Common Assessment Framework

The Common Assessment Framework (CAF) is a common European quality management instrument for the public sector developed by the public sector.

Comparability

Comparability is an attribute of statistics measuring the extent to which differences between statistics can be attributed to differences between the true values of the statistical characteristics.

Consistency

Consistency is an attribute of statistics measuring the logical and numerical coherence, i.e. the adequacy of the data to be reliably combined in a logical and numerical way.

Cost effectiveness

Cost effectiveness is a characteristic of a process where the costs of producing the statistics are in proportion to the importance of the results and the benefits sought, the resources are optimally used and the response burden minimised. Where possible, the information requested is readily extractable from available records or sources.

Credibility

Credibility is the confidence that users place in statistical products based simply on their image of the data producer, the statistical authority i.e., the brand image.

European Statistics Code of Practice

The European Statistics Code of Practice (CoP, Code) is the European Statistical System (ESS) quality framework, providing a structure for supporting improvements of quality for the ESS. The Code provides an encompassing conceptual ground for quality management and is based on 15 principles.

Impartiality

Impartiality is an attribute confirming that statistics are developed, produced and disseminated in a neutral manner, and that all users must be given equal treatment.

Institutional environment

Institutional environment is the set of rules and the organisational structures that are used as the basis for producing statistics. Quality is the degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfils requirements.

Integrity

Integrity is the set of values and related practices of a statistical authority that maintain confidence in the eyes of users in the agency producing statistics and ultimately in the statistical product.

ISO

(International Organization for Standardization) is the world's largest developer and publisher of International Standards. ISO is a network of the national standards institutes of 161 countries, one member per country, with a Central Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland, that coordinates the system.

Mandate for data collection

Mandate for data collection is the characteristic of a statistical institute of authority to have the legal power to collect information for statistical purposes.

Methodological soundness, sound methodology

Methodological soundness is the extent to which the methodology used to compile statistics complies with the relevant international standards.

Non-excessive burden on respondents

Non-excessive burden on respondents is the reasonable effort, in terms of time and cost, which is required for respondents to provide satisfactory answers to a survey.

Objectivity

Objectivity is an attribute confirming that statistics are developed, produced and disseminated in a systematic, reliable and unbiased manner. It implies the use of professional and ethical standards, and that the policies and practices followed are transparent to users and survey respondents.

Output (product) quality

Output (product) quality is the degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfils output requirements.

Peer review

The peer review is a special kind of external audit, carried out e.g. by a National Statistical Institute (NSI) for another NSI . In general, it is less formal than an audit. It aims rather at assessing the general quality than at controlling the conformity with an external quality standard.

Prerequisites of quality

Prerequisites of quality are institutional conditions for the pursuit of data quality.

Process approach

The process approach is the systematic identification and management of the processes in the organisation and particularly of the interactions between such processes.

Process-based quality management system

A process-based quality management system (QMS) uses a process approach to manage and control how its quality policy is implemented and how its quality objectives are achieved. A process- based QMS is a network of interrelated and interconnected processes.

Professional independence

Professional independence is the characteristic of a statistical institute or authority to develop, produce and disseminate statistics in an independent manner, particularly as regards the selection of techniques, definitions, methodologies and sources to be used, and the timing and content of all forms of dissemination, free from any pressures from political or interest groups or from Community or national authorities, without prejudice to institutional settings, such as Community or national institutional or budgetary provisions or definitions of statistical needs.

Professionalism

Professionalism is the set of standard, skill and ability of a statistical authority that are suitable for producing statistics of good quality.

Punctuality

Punctuality is an attribute of statistics measuring the delay between the date of the release of the data and the target date (the date by which the data should have been delivered or released).

Quality

Quality is the degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfils requirements. Quality is a multi-faceted concept. The dimensions of quality that are considered most important depend on user perspectives, needs and priorities, which vary across groups of users.

Quality assessment

Quality assessment is a part of quality assurance that focuses on assessment of fulfilling quality requirements (need or expectation that is stated, generally implied or obligatory).

Quality assurance

Quality assurance is an organisation's guarantee that the product or service it offers meets the accepted quality standards. It is achieved by identifying what 'quality' means in context; specifying methods by which its presence can be ensured; and specifying ways in which it can be measured to ensure conformance.

Quality control

Quality Control of the data collection process assures that the underlying statistical assumptions of a survey are not violated, i.e. the meaning of the principal statistical measures and the assumptions which condition their use is maintained. Quality Control in data review process measures the impact of data adjustment on the data.

Quality improvement

Quality improvement refers to anything that enhances an organization's ability to meet quality requirements. Quality improvement is one part of quality management.

Quality index

The quality index is a one-dimension synthetic information on quality, possibly calculated as a weighted mean of all available quality indicators.

Quality indicator

Quality indicators are statistical measures that give an indication of output quality. However, some quality indicators can also give an indication of process quality, like e.g. response rates.

Quality management

Quality management is the set of systems and frameworks which are in place within an organisation to manage the quality of statistical products and processes.

Quality management system

A quality management system (QMS) is a set of interrelated or interacting elements that organizations use to direct and control how quality policies are implemented and quality objectives are achieved.

Quality objective

A quality objective is a quality oriented goal. A quality objective is something you aim for or try to achieve.

Quality plan

A quality plan is a document that is used to specify the procedures and resources that will be needed to carry out a project, perform a process, realize a product, or manage a contract. Quality plans also specify who will do what and when.

Quality planning

Quality planning involves setting quality objectives and then specifying the operational processes and resources that will be needed to achieve those objectives. Quality planning is one part of quality management.

Quality policy

An organization's quality policy defines top management's commitment to quality. A quality policy statement should describe an organization's general quality orientation and clarify its basic intentions.

Quality report

A quality report is a report conveying information about the quality of a statistical product or process

Relevance

Relevance is an attribute of statistics measuring the degree to which statistics meet current and potential needs of the users.

Reliability

Reliability is an attribute of statistics that measure as faithfully, accurately and consistently as possible the reality that they are designed to represent and implying that scientific criteria are used for the selection of sources, methods and procedures.

Rolling review

The rolling review is an in-depth assessment done by an external expert, including a user survey and a partner survey.

Self assessment

The self assessment is a comprehensive, systematic and regular review of an organisation's activities and results referenced against a model/framework, carried out by the organisation itself.

Serviceability

Serviceability is the set of practical aspects describing how well the available data meet users' needs.

Statistical (production/business) process

Statistical (production/business) process is the complete set of sub-processes that are needed to support statistical production.

Statistical confidentiality

The statistical confidentiality is a principle according to which confidential data related to single statistical units, obtained directly for statistical purposes or indirectly from administrative or other sources, are protected and their use for non-statistical purposes and their unlawful disclosure prohibited.

Timeliness

Timeliness is an attribute of statistics measuring the period between the availability of the information and the event or phenomenon it describes.

Total Quality Management

Total Quality Management (TQM) is a management philosophy that is driven by customer needs and expectations. TQM aims to create a Quality Culture, and is based on a number of core values such as: customer orientation; leadership; participation of all staff; process orientation; teamwork; staff development; and continuous improvement.

Transparency

Transparency shall mean the right of respondents to have information on the legal basis, the purposes for which the data are required and the protective measures adopted. The authorities responsible for collecting statistics shall take every step to supply such information.

User satisfaction survey

User satisfaction survey is a survey which aims at assessing the satisfaction or the perception of the users, normally as a basis for improvement actions.