Using data with help from the ABS*

If you’ve ever found yourself thinking, ‘I’ve got all this data, now what do I do with it?’, then the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) can help.

The ABS – through its National Statistics Training Institute – offers a range of courses that cover topics such as accessing and understanding existing statistics, survey and questionnaire design, statistical analysis, and statistical writing.

These courses can help you understand the use, and limits of, your own data, or other survey data. They can also help you use existing data sources such as the surveys run by the ABS, and gain an understanding of the strengths and limitations of various analytical techniques.

Statistical literacy – the ability to use statistical information well – is particularly relevant with the increasing move towards evidence based policy development and decision making. It is also important to the ongoing monitoring and evaluation of government policy.

Two examples of National Statistics Training Institute courses that have consistently received excellent feedback are:

  • Turning Data Into Information – participants will gain skills in transforming data into meaningful written information, particularly in respect to social policy
  • Analysing Survey Data Made Simple – this two day, computer based course develops basic practical skills in statistical and graphical data analysis
    techniques using Microsoft Excel.

Each course module has been developed to improve your statistical understanding and skills through discussions and practical exercises, and they are run by experienced facilitators.

Yvonne Ward, Senior Labour Economics Officer from the Department of Employment Education and Workplace Relations, said that Turning Data Into Information was an excellent course presented by skilled, motivating trainers.

“The content was modern, relevant and easy to understand,” Yvonne Ward said. “I would highly recommend this course to anyone who uses statistical data in their workplace.”

The ABS runs courses in capital cities and some major regional centres.

If you’d like to find out what courses are available near you, visit the ABS website at and look under ‘Understanding Statistics’ then ‘ABS Training Courses’, or contact the ABS National Statistical Training Institute by phone (03) 9615 7928 or email

*Copy supplied by ABS