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Analytical Guidance Library

An electronic library of analytical guidance material that covers a number of topics was produced by a working group of the Public Sector Analysts Network.

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About Statistics in Scotland - Methodology Glossary


The information within this glossary is intended as a quick reference for members of the public, or staff within the Scottish Government who may not be familiar with statistical methodologies. We have tried to cover the methodologies that are used within most Scottish Government publications, further topics will be covered in time.

There are currently 2 tiers to the glossary, Tier 1 and Tier 2. Tier 1 is intended to be introductory and covers the concepts briefly whereas tier 2 goes into more detail, with some worked examples.

Scottish Government researchers also produce guides to the methods used in Social Research.

If you have any comments or feedback please email us.



Methodology Glossary - Tier 1


Information is available for the following methods:


· Describing Numerical Data: basic statistical terms

· Statistical Significance: what does it really mean?

· Sampling: obtaining the best estimate

· Measuring Change and Monitoring Targets: general rules when setting targets

· Confidence Intervals: how good are our estimates?

· Imputation: dealing with the problem of missing data

· Social Survey Design: important factors to consider

· Statistical Disclosure Control: protecting sensitive information

· Harmonisation: standardising survey questions and outputs

· Correlation and Regression: predicting the unknown

· Statistical Modelling: understanding and forecasting by numbers

· Time Series: monitoring underlying change over time

· Depreciation: the loss of value over time

· Index Numbers: simple comparisons against a base-line

· Factor Analysis: a summary

· Household Projections for Scotland: a summary

Methodology Glossary - Tier 2

Information is available for the following methods:

· Sampling - Cluster Sampling

· Statistical Disclosure Control

· Statistical Process Control


Methods Used in Social Research:

Further information

Other information on the methods used in the production of Executive statistics can be found under the individual statistics themes to which they relate:

Scottish Government researchers also produce guides to the methods used in Social Research:

The Office for National Statistics carries out methodology work which cuts across many statistical themes. This information relates primarily to statistics for England and Wales, but much is applicable to Scottish statistics.

The ScotStat Public Sector Analysts Network has produced a library of online resources covering a number of analytical topics: