CIPR launches best practice guide for using statistics in communications

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) today launches a Best Practice Guide for Using Statistics in Communications, supported by The Market Research Society (MRS) and the Royal Statistical Society. It will reflect guidance on using statistics effectively, both to achieve day-to-day campaign objectives and to contribute over time to the enhanced reputation of communication organisations.

This guide has been established to improve communications professionals' knowledge of what should be included in their work and to identify when they might want to obtain expert statistical advice. It is not meant to be an instruction manual in statistical techniques.

The guide covers:

  • why statistics are used

  • what statistical information should be included in communications work

  • what common statistical terms mean

  • some common pitfalls to watch out for

  • sources of statistical advice.

CIPR CEO Jane Wilson says:

When used well, statistics can establish the credibility and influence of a communications campaign. However, when used poorly, they can result in a loss of trust and potentially damage the reputation of the organisation that used them. These guidelines offer a useful framework for the responsible use of statistics to deliver insightful and relevant communication.

Geoff Gosling, Chair of the MRS Market Research Standards Board, comments:

The accurate reporting of research results is essential for the public understanding of, and trust in, research. I hope that these guidelines will assist in promoting accuracy and clarity in reporting in the future.

Valerie Isham, President of the Royal Statistical Society, says:

By explaining basic statistical terms and highlighting pitfalls to avoid, these guidelines provide a good foundation for making effective use of statistics in communications. We hope that they will help public relations professionals understand the benefits of asking the right questions, interpreting data appropriately and communicating conclusions responsibly.

The full guide is available on our Best practice guides page.


For further information, please contact Andrea Moseley on 020 7631 6915 or

Notes to Editors

The guidelines have been written by CIPR members Andrew Garratt MCIPR and Adrian Penrose MCIPR and are supported by The Market Research Society and the Royal Statistical Society. The guidelines are based on contributions from a roundtable held in October 2009 of CIPR members who work regularly with statistics and research. The draft guidelines were then reviewed by this group, the CIPR Professional Practice Committee, the Royal Statistical Society and The Market Research Society.

About the CIPR

The CIPR is the professional body for PR practitioners in the UK. With 9,500 members involved in all aspects of PR, profession, it is the largest body of its type in Europe. The CIPR advances the PR profession in the UK by making its members accountable through a code of conduct, developing policies for the PR profession, representing its members and raising standards through education and training.

About the Royal Statistical Society

The Royal Statistical Society (RSS) is the UK's only professional and learned society devoted to statistics as a discipline and the interests of statisticians. Of its 7,000 members about a quarter are drawn from over 50 countries outside the UK. The Society publishes an internationally renowned peer-reviewed journal and is a leading source of independent advice, comment and discussion on statistical issues. It plays a crucial role in promoting public understanding of statistics and has recently launched its ten-year getstats campaign to further this work. For further information, see and

About MRS

  • With members in more than 70 countries, MRS is the world's largest association serving all those with professional equity in provision or use of market, social and opinion research, and in business intelligence, market analysis, customer insight and consultancy.

  • MRS has a diverse membership of individuals at all levels of experience and seniority within agencies, consultancies, support services, client-side organisations, the public sector and the academic community.

  • It also serves MRS Company Partners agencies, suppliers of support services, buyers and end-users – of all types and scale who are committed throughout their organisations to supporting the core MRS values of professionalism, research excellence and business effectiveness.

  • MRS contributes significantly to the enhancement of skills and knowledge by offering various qualifications and membership grades, as well as training and professional development resources.