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Principles and Practices for a Federal Statistical Agency, Fourth Edition
Research to evaluate and improve statistical methods, in particular the identification and creation of new statistical measures and the development of improved methods for analyzing errors in data that are due not only to sampling variability, but also to other sources. Research should also be conducted on ways to reduce the time and effort requested of respondents and to improve the timeliness, accuracy, and efficiency of data collection, analysis, and dissemination procedures.
Research to understand how the agency’s information is used, in order to make the data more relevant to policy concerns and more useful for policy research and decision making.
Practice 9: Professional Advancement of Staff
A statistical agency should recruit, develop, and support professional staff who are committed to the highest standards of quality work and professional practice. An agency’s staff should also be committed to the highest standards of professional ethics with regard to maintaining the agency’s credibility as an objective, independent source of accurate and useful information obtained through fair information practices.
To develop and maintain a high-caliber staff, a statistical agency must recruit qualified people with the relevant skills for its efficient and effective operation, including analysts in fields relevant to its mission (e.g., demographers, economists), statistical methodologists who specialize in data collection and analysis, and other specialized staff (e.g., computer specialists). To retain and make the most effective use of its staff, an agency should provide opportunities for work on challenging projects in addition to more routine, production-oriented assignments. An agency’s personnel policies, supported with significant resources, should enable staff to extend their technical capabilities through appropriate professional and developmental activities, such as attendance and participation in professional meetings, participation in relevant training programs, and rotation of assignments. An agency should also seek opportunities to reinforce the commitment of its staff to ethical standards of practice.
Practice 10: A Strong Internal and External Evaluation Program
Statistical agencies should have regular, ongoing programs of evaluation for major statistical programs and program components and for the agency’s portfolio of programs as a whole. Regular formal reviews of major data