News & blog

Stats and stories about Stats and stories!

Diane Kennedy, Depute Director, walks the talk in this blog where she gives us the stats and stories behind the webinar she presented.

It’s scary doing a webinar. You can’t see how people are responding and then the technology goes wrong – eek. Not to mention pesky buskers on the street interrupting my flow with ‘I did it my way’. But it is a great way to reach time poor people and to introduce resources and further support.

I thought I’d have a go at presenting the stats and stories behind the stats and stories webinar. Confused? Hopefully you won’t be.

computers and people in circle

                                          30 minute webinar

                                          42 people listened in from 35 organisations

                                           2 people left during the presentation

                                           3 people left at question time (last five minutes)

Feedback: the stats                                                          Feedback: the stories 

people and speech bubbles
photograph album

Out of 17 who fed back                                                  Out of 7 comments                                         

  • 8 rated it 5/5                                                                2 people mentioned sound issues (gave low rating)
  • 5 rated it 4/5                                                                5 people thought the webinar excellent or very 
  • 2 rated it 3/5                                                                    helpful/useful
  • 1 rated it 2/5                                                                2 people said they liked examples
    7 people left a comment                                           1 liked chance to ask questions
    7 people asked questions

So overall it was a success, but we have to work on the technology. We also have to see what use people have made of their learning at some point in the future. How does the story continue?

It was worth my personal discomfort and I can honestly say ‘I did it my way’ and it was ok. One up on the busker then.

Good questions

For ESS another benefit of webinars is that we are asked intelligent questions that help us to see where else we might provide further support.

Two types of questions struck me this time

  • How to find and use external statistics in your reports?
  • What’s the right level of detail in reports?

What evidence you use and how you present it depends very much on your audience and the purpose of your communication, so it’s not a straightforward answer.

You might not use external stats at all in your outcome evaluation report, or you might find it helpful to set the context of your findings. See Evidence from Elsewhere: Gathering, analysing and using other people’s evidence

If your funder prescribes a format for their report, you may not be able to take a very visual and less detailed approach. But for your annual report, you might want to be a bit more creative.

ESS are exploring the way we can better use visual tools like infographics to share our learning. Is this something you are interested in too? Apart from anything else we would love more examples of ways to combine stats and stories. Contact

To listen to our re-recorded webinar go to our website. Print version of this blog is here.