Students make sense of public opinion stats

19 February 2007 | Story by Daniella Pollock

Statistical snapshots: Students presented their research papers at the closing of the CSSR's Afrobarometer Summer School.

Four intensive weeks of juggling statistics, teasing out findings, and interpreting their meaning ended on 16 February when the 2007 Afrobarometer Summer School drew to a close.

A group of 25 participants from NGOs and universities across the continent (including UCT), spent four weeks at UCT where they were taught how to analyse public opinion data, using statistical tools.

Data came from the latest round of the Afrobarometer, conducted in 18 countries in 2005 and 2006, to develop their own research papers in areas like political trust, gender equality and government performance.

"The course serves to increase the pool of people in Africa with the skills to use the Afrobarometer and other public opinion data to understand their own societies," says Professor Robert Mattes, director of the Centre for Social Science Research (CSSR) at UCT and co-founder of Afrobarometer.

The CSSR is a support unit within the Afrobarometer network and hosted the summer school. The Norwegian Agency for Development Co-operation put up US$350 000 to fund the course and other capacity building activities in 2006 and 2007.

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