Converge Presenting at the IAIA Global Conference in Calgary

iaia13-logo-smThe International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) holds its 33rd Annual International Conference in Calgary, Alberta, May 13-16 at the BMO Centre.

Impact Assessment (IA) identifies and assesses the problems and issues at stake with proposed development and analyzes the likely economic, environmental and social impact. It’s important work. In Alberta, for example, the impact of oil sands development is a major issue with significant implications. We need to know how future oil sands development may affect people and the environment.

Robert Gerst of Converge Consulting Group Inc. will be presenting his paper “Was There an Impact?” Using the Alberta Cancer Board Study on the incidence of cancer rates in Ft. Chipewyan as a starting point, Robert will show how misuse and misinterpretation of statistical significance tests leads to faulty and misleading conclusions. Concluding, for example, that cholangiocarcinoma was “within the expected range of cancer occurrence” in Ft. Chipewyan, when there is evidence of elevated cancer risk.

The misuse of statistical significance tests (p-values, correlation coefficients, etc.) has become a disease infecting not only scientific research, but business and government reporting as well (look for it in a report near you). Customer and citizen satisfaction surveys, employee engagement surveys, performance measurement, benchmarking, health system reporting, environmental monitoring, six sigma improvement and program evaluation all suffer from its effects. It’s why most government reporting to citizens, and industry reporting to regulatory agencies, is false.

Of course, Robert will also be highlighting some proper data analysis and interpretation techniques to keep reporting accurate and honest.

To all our clients, and to those who aren’t yet, we hope to see you there. Be sure to catch Robert’s presentation–currently scheduled for Tuesday 14 May, 16:30-18:00 in Arabian B.

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