Washington Statistical Society
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October 2012


All Are Invited To An Exciting DC-AAPOR & WSS Co-Sponsored Event

Recap of ICES IV Invited Overview Talks on
Nonresponse Prevention, Evaluation and Adjustment in Establishment Data

October 15, 2012/ 8:00 am to 12:30 pm

Event will take place at the Bureau of Labor Statistics Conference Center, Washington DC (Rooms 1-3).

Registration is free but must RSVP at http://www.dc-aapor.org/upcomingevents.php.

Nonresponse Reduction

McCarthy, Jaki (NASS)

As for all survey statistics, non-response has the potential to reduce the quality of establishment survey estimates. Therefore, US Federal agencies employ multiple strategies before, during, and after scheduled data collection to minimize non-response. This lecture will give an overview of current practices employed by US Federal statistical agencies including members of the Interagency Group on Establishment Non-response. The rationale for the effectiveness of these practices and specific examples from member agencies will be provided. In addition, several examples of empirical evaluation of the effectiveness of these strategies will be also presented. This is intended to provide audience members with a full palette of practical strategies to reduce non-response throughout all phases of data collection.

Nonresponse Bias Analysis for Establishment Surveys - Guidance from the U.S. Office of Management and Budget

Harris-Kojetin, Brian (OMB)

National Statistical Institutes have been facing declining response rates and increased costs of data collection for many surveys. In recent years, there has been an increased attention on nonresponse bias rather than response rates. In the U.S., the Office of Management and Budget issued guidance stipulating that Federal agencies conduct nonresponse bias analyses if survey response rates fall below 80 percent. This lecture will provide an introduction to issues of survey nonresponse and an overview of techniques for examining potential nonresponse bias in establishment surveys. The use of different analysis techniques will be illustrated with examples used by U.S. agencies on their establishment surveys.

Nonresponse Bias Analysis for Business Surveys - A Perspective from the U.S. Census Bureau

Thompson, K. Jenny (Census)

Although nonresponse bias is only one component of total survey error, mitigating it often poses substantive challenges for business surveys. For these programs, the statistics of interest are generally totals or percentage change in totals, and biases in either direction could lead to erroneous conclusions about the state of the economy. Business populations are highly skewed, with a large proportion of the estimated totals originating from a small set of cases. Moreover, viable response data can be obtained from different units than sampled: for example, a company may provide data for more than one sampled unit. High quality administrative data may be available from alternative data sources. This lecture discusses these challenges in detail and provides a broad overview of techniques used to conduct nonresponse bias analysis with business data.

Adjusting for Unit Nonresponse in an Establishment Survey Under a Logistic Response Model

Kott, Phil (RTI)

Many establishment surveys have a measure of size known for all units in the frame. Often, it is more reasonable to assume unit nonresponse is a logistic function of the log of this size measure (and other covariates) rather than the measure itself. We contrast several methods of estimating a total under that assumption with a simulated respondent sample of hospital emergency departments. It turns out the most efficient of these methods uses instrumental-variable calibration where the size measure is a calibration variable while its log is an instrumental variable. We then turn to the problem of estimating a total when unit nonresponse is a function of the survey variable itself by letting the log of the survey variable be the instrumental variable. SUDAAN 11 is employed to compute all estimates and large-sample standard errors.

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Conferences and Symposiums
Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics (CATS)
National Research Council of the National Academies

The Era of Big Data is Here: Case Studies
October 11, 2012 / 3:00 p.m - 5:00 p.m.

Room 125
National Academy of Sciences Building
2101 Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC 20418

Speakers and topics include:

  • Dan Crichton
    Program Manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory on the roles of massive data in science and engineering
  • Deepak Agarwal
    Director of Relevance Science at LinkedIn on the applications of massive data in business
  • Gaddy Getz
    Director of Cancer Genome Computational Analysis at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University on massive data exploration in genomics

This event is free and open to the public.

Please RSVP to Michelle Schwalbe at mschwalbe@nas.edu by Tuesday, October 9.

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Nominate Your Fellow WSS Member
Requesting Nominations for the Washington Statistical Society's Spotlight on Members Program

The WSS Board of Directors is pleased to announce a new program to highlight members who have made or are making notable contributions to the work of their organization or their professional field of expertise. We know that WSS members are doing interesting work in the fields of statistics, survey methodology, and the social sciences. Through this program, we hope to spotlight the accomplishments of our fellow WSS members.

This is our first request for nominations, to be featured in an upcoming issue of WSS News. We are interested in featuring members at all levels of the employment spectrum including recent graduates, mid-career employees, and those seasoned veterans.

Please feel free to nominate more than one person or a team working together. You may also nominate yourself as well. The nominees must be members of the WSS and not currently affiliated with the Board.

Please provide us with the following information about your nominee or nominees.

  1. Your name, email address, and telephone number
  2. ame or names of nominee(s)
  3. Organizational affiliation
  4. Job title
  5. Their contact information including email address and telephone number
  6. A brief narrative describing the reasons for your nomination
  7. A photo of the nominee, although not required, would be great be greatly appreciated

Please send this information to Mel Kollander, member of the WSS Board. His email address is mellk@erols.com. If you have any questions please contact Mel.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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International Year of Statistics
Washington Statistical Society Is Participating in the International Year of Statistics 2013

Donsig Jang, WSS Liaison for the International Year of Statistics

Washington Statistical Society is proud to announce it is participating in the International Year of Statistics 2013, a worldwide celebration of the contributions of statistical science to the advancement of our global society.

More than 700 organizations--universities, research institutes, high schools, professional societies, government agencies and businesses--in nearly 100 countries are joining to celebrate and promote the importance of statistical science to the science community, businesses, governments, the news media, policymakers, employers, students and the public. As a participant, WSS website (http://washstat.org) now has the International Year of Statistics logo next to WSS's.

During this yearlong celebration, Washington Statistical Society and the hundreds of other participating organizations around the world will be:

  • Increasing public awareness of the power and impact of statistics on all aspects of our society
  • Nurturing statistics as a profession, especially among high-school and college students
  • Promoting creativity and development in the sciences of probability and statistics

Here are a few highlights of recent activities of the IYS:

Follow Us! Like Us!

If you want to receive up-to-date information on the International Year of Statistics through Twitter or Facebook, simply go to http://statistics2013.org and click on the appropriate icon at the top of the page.

Statistics2013 Poster

We need your ideas! We are developing posters that you can use throughout 2013 to promote the International Year of Statistics . Once created, these posters will be available for download at the Statistics2013 website for everyone to use. At http://www.amstat.org/misc/IYSTATPoster.pdf you will see a concept for a poster. We need your help to complete this poster! Please send me a note with at least one example of an important contribution statistics has made in your part of the world. We'll select examples from around the world and highlight them in the "bubbles" on the poster. (Please note the placement of the bubbles in the poster concept are for illustration purposes and will be moved to accommodate text length and number of examples.)

Video Contest

Please help us to spread the word about the international video contest that will help launch the worldwide celebration of the positive impact of statistical science around the world. We encourage your organization to submit a video of four minutes in length or less that illustrates:

  • how statistics positively impacts the lives of your country's citizens, improves society, or in general makes the world a better place
  • how statistical thinking can be brought to bear on important issues of our day
  • interesting careers in statistics (tell the world why your job in statistics is so great, or why it is interesting and fun to be a statistician)

Cash prizes of $250 to $1000 (U.S. dollar) will be awarded for the best videos, with special prizes for the best videos by a person or a group of people 18 years of age or less and the best non- English language video. Entries will be judged on statistical content and entertainment value. All submissions must be the original design and creation of the entrants and must not infringe on copyrighted materials or productions. Submissions must be posted on YouTube. Send a link to the video to Tom Short, chair of the Statistics2013 Video Contest review committee at tshort@jcu.edu, by October 31, 2012. Winning and honorable-mention videos will be posted on the International Year of Statistics website throughout 2013.

How Your Organization Can Celebrate the International Year of Statistics

  • Have a special conference or add a component about the International Year of Statistics to your annual convention or meeting
  • Hold special workshops or symposia on important topics in statistics in your area
  • Have a "Day of Data" celebration (see examples at http://brown.edu/research/projects/digital-society/news/2012-05/may-18-day-data and http://www.bgsu.edu/offices/mc/page116754.html)
  • Host events or develop materials that promote statistics careers to young people in your area or country
  • Develop new educational materials that help improve some aspect of statistics instruction in your area or country.
  • Spread the word in your area about the positive impact of statistics (get in your local news, write blogs on the web, distribute brochures - whatever works best for your organization)
  • Publish special editions of your newsletters, journals or magazines related to Statistics2013
  • Use the opportunity to create new partnerships and make new friends
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Be Challenged
Join the Census Challenge!

Donsig Jang, WSS Liaison for the International Year of Statistics

The Census Bureau invites you to participate in a prize competition.

  • Create the best statistical model predicting census mail return rates at block group level geographies based on their demographic characteristics.
  • Use information from the new Census Planning Database, a file of selected variables from the 2010 Census and 5-year American Community Survey (ACS) estimates.

Census Bureau planners will use the winning model to develop appropriate strategies for respondent outreach and cooperation for timely and efficient data collection.

Competition begins August 31, 2012 and ends November 1, 2012.

1st prize: $14,000 / Data Visualization 1st place: $1,000
2nd prize: $7,500
3rd prize: $2,500

Rules and Information
Contest details, rules, and eligibility guidelines are available at https://www.kaggle.com/c/us- census-challenge.

Federal employees can participate as long as this analysis is not within the scope of their work, and they participate on their own time, using their own resources. Anyone whose job duties or official work capacity are closely related to the statistical model that is the subject of the challenge cannot enter the competition.

Please note also that as described in the rules, only US citizens and residents are eligible for prizes.

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A New Journal for WSS Members
Journal of Survey Statistics and Methodology (JSSAM)

The American Association of Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the American Statistical Association (ASA) announce the launching of a new interdisciplinary journal, the Journal of Survey Statistics and Methodology (JSSAM).

The purpose of JSSAM is to publish cutting-edge articles on statistical and methodological issues for surveys and censuses. It also will publish empirical and theoretical papers as well as applied papers and review papers. The journal will feature three sections. The Survey Statistics section will include papers on sampling procedures, imputation, weighting, measures of uncertainty, small area estimation, new methods of analysis, and other statistical issues related to surveys. The Survey Methodology section will include papers presenting methodological research, such as methodological experiments, comparisons of modes of data collection, and new uses of paradata. The Applications section will include papers that report innovative applications of methods, provide guidance on some practical problem, or present significant new findings. The first issue is scheduled to be issued in July 2013 and the journal will be published quarterly thereafter.

The founding co-editors of the new journal are well-known researchers. Joseph Sedransk will be the editor for statistical papers, and Roger Tourangeau will be the editor for the methodological papers. Dr. Sedransk is Professor Emeritus of Statistics at Case Western Reserve University; he received his Ph.D. in Statistics from Harvard University. Dr. Sedransk has also taught at Iowa State, Wisconsin, SUNY-Buffalo, University at Albany, and Iowa. Dr. Tourangeau is a Vice President at Westat. His Ph.D. is from Yale University in Psychology. Before going to Westat, he headed the Joint Program in Survey Methodology at the University of Maryland for nearly 10 years; during this time, he was also a Research Professor in the University of Michigan's Survey Research Center.

Oxford University Press (OUP) will be the publisher of JSSAM. OUP already publishes Public Opinion Quarterly (POQ), AAPOR's highly regarded journal that recently celebrated its 75th anniversary. AAPOR anticipates that JSSAM eventually will gain the stature that POQ has rightly earned in providing cutting-edge scholarship for the survey and opinion research communities and that the two journals will complement each other.

More information is available at the journal's website (http://jssam.oxfordjournals.org). Prospective authors can submit manuscripts online at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/jssam.

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Note From The WSS NEWS Editor

Items for publication in the November 2012 issue of the WSS NEWS will be accepted until the 15th day of the preceding month.

Email items to wss.editor@gmail.com.

Please submit all materials in MS WORD or plain text.

Please do not submit your items in pdf or include them in the body of an email.

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Click here to see the WSS Board Listing (pdf)
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