Harmonisation: The Beach Boys were onto something
|If anyone knew the power of harmonisation, they did.
Harmonisation is an often misunderstood and sometimes underappreciated idea. People often think it is just about getting everyone to use exactly the same definitions and concepts in their statistics. Some think it’s just about adding emotional impact to a melody. But these are just two aspects of harmonisation. Harmonisation is about much more than this. It’s the art of improving coherence and comparability of statistics, using a variety of tools.
And it has a number of big benefits for everyone. By reusing existing question designs and definitions for collecting data, we can work more efficiently and avoid reinventing the wheel. If our users can easily compare different sets of statistics and use them in combination, this enhances their utility and creates a government-wide evidence base on cross-cutting topics. And by aligning definitions across datasets, such as in employment or income, we can use them in conjunction to produce new, more efficient ways of measuring the world we live in.
Wouldn’t that be nice?
Here in the GSS Harmonisation team (a part of the Best Practice and Impact Division), we are making this happen in three ways:
We get around.
And helping us to deliver this work is the GSS Harmonisation Champions Network. The Network was launched in early April 2019 and so is very much taking its first steps, but it will provide a cross-government network of advocates, that can identify and take advantage opportunities for harmonisation in their own departments and beyond. You can find more detail on the network here.
Hopefully this blog has made you think about how you can consider harmonisation in your role, or just given you some good vibrations that this work is going on.
Please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to know more about our work, or the other great work across the Best Practice and Impact Division (which includes Harmonisation, the Good Practice Team, Quality Centre, and the Methodology Advisory Service).