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Insight Society: Designing surveys to enrich societal knowledge

Submitted on Wednesday, 06/09/2023

Mervyn O’Luing is an expert in survey design. His work in this area has helped us to accurately measure public opinion not just in Ireland, but in countries across Europe where his work has been influential.  Mervyn has chaired the European Data Analytics Workshop on Official Statistics and holds an innovation award with the Central Statistics Office for his R software, which was used by a number of statistical institutes across Europe.

Moreover, his genetic algorithm for joint stratification and sample allocation was implemented by the Italian Statistical Institute.

His tutorial called ‘Mapping a Table of Data with Esri Shapefiles in R ‘ at the Use of R in Official Statistics Conference in 2019 brought his work to the attention of national statistics institutes from across Europe and the world. The work generated a lot of interest among attendees interested in the reproducibility of the code as well as the open source nature of the software, data, shapefiles and maps.

One user reported that he used the code immediately after the presentation to combine shapefiles and data from his national statistical institute to create visualisations. He added that he contacted his boss that very afternoon to say that he had visualised the data.

In 2020 Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) conducted the Science in Ireland Barometer, an analysis of public perception and awareness of STEM and its contribution to the Irish economy and society. Mervyn O’Luing’s input was significant: https://www.sfi.ie/engagement/barometer/SFI-Science-in-Ireland-Barometer-2020-Research-Report.pdf