Webinar Series: Statistics Communication in Practice - VVSOR - VVSOR

14 - 28 May 2024

Webinar Series: Statistics Communication in Practice

On Tuesdays in May 2024, we will discuss the struggles of communicating statistical results to end users.


In our data-driven society, statistics are used for many practical applications with different end users. Hence, the statistical results need to be translated or summarised for a specific audience. For example, think of complex data that a journalist needs to communicate to a general audience; a forensic analysis that needs to be understood by a judge to be valuable in court; or any delays in train traffic that need to be communicated to travellers. Each of these situations comes with their own challenges.

With examples from our speakers as a basis, we will discuss best practices in communicating statistics clearly to their end users.


All meetings are online via Zoom and start at 16.00 and end ± 16.45h. You will receive the Zoom-link after registration.


Statisticians vs journalists: how can we explain data better?

Explaining complicated statistics simply is a daily challenge in my work as a data journalist. My work needs to be both factually correct and easy to understand – two requirements that can be conflicting. In this talk, I will show you how I use data to tell stories to a young audience, and which dilemmas I face in the journalistic process. Together, we’ll discuss questions like: how can we explain statistics better? How can we use smart metaphors? What role does visualisation play? And what ‘shortcuts’ is a journalist allowed to take without angering the statisticians (too much)?

Wouter van Dijke, Data journalist at NOS op 3
Wouter is a data journalist at NOS op 3, a news channel aimed at people aged 18-35, specialised in explaining complicated news stories. As a data journalist, his job is to explain data, and use statistical methods to do journalistic research. Previously, Wouter has worked for a number of news organisations and taught at the School of Journalism of the University of Applied Sciences Utrecht (HU). He has also created funny viral websites like Woonplaatsguesser and CatGPT.

Forensic evidence evaluation - statistics in court

In criminal cases we use statistics with a twist - 1) there are two hypotheses, but neither is the 'null' and 2) the judge, not the scientist, is making the final decision. Forensic scientists thus often provide a likelihood ratio - specifying how much more likely the evidence is under one hypothesis than the other. But how should the judge combine this number with the other (non-quantified) evidence in the case? And how can we best help them to do this well? I will discuss some of the successes, challenges and informative pit falls in this fascinating interface between scientists and lawyers.


Rolf Ypma, Principal scientist and Forensic data scientist at Netherlands Forensic Institute
Rolf works on criminal cases and scientific research in the forensic data science domain. He is interested in how forensic statistics can be better communicated to lawyers, and open to academic collaborations on this fascinating topic.

Navigating Uncertainty: Communicating Clarity in Travel with Nederlandse Spoorwegen

On an average weekday, over a million passengers use one or more of the comprehensive mobility services offered by Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS). Providing accurate, timely information for planning and executing door-to-door journeys is a critical part of our operations. However, communicating this information in a manner that allows passengers to make optimal decisions is a complex task. The challenge is further compounded by the varying data literacy levels of our customers who need to make on-the-spot decisions: Is there time for a coffee at the station? Should they catch an earlier train? Where are the vacant seats? In this talk, we showcase examples of how we communicate statistics and uncertainty. We will discuss our approach to displaying information, such as train delays, track changes on departure boards, expected train occupancy, or the anticipated availability of OV-bikes for the final leg of the journey in the NS travel planner app.

Wouter Hordijk, Senior Data Scientist and Product Owner at NS
Wouter earned a Master's degree in Theoretical Physics at TU Delft, specializing in Quantum Information Science. Before joining NS in 2019, Wouter was a Consultant at a number of companies, predominantly in the healthcare sector. He is passionate about solving complex problems and  communicating about those solutions with diverse audiences. In his spare time, he loves playing board games, engaging in sports and making music, particularly with his daughter.


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