1st Edition

Working with Data in the Public Sector From Fear to Enthusiasm

    176 Pages 29 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    176 Pages 29 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Working with Data in the Public Sector: From Fear to Enthusiasm is the first book designed for practicing and future public administration professionals to help overcome any anxiety about using data effectively in their roles. 

    Authors Anne McIntyre-Lahner and Ronald Schack explore different types and degrees of data fear (a data fear/data comfort continuum) and provide a tool-box of fear-fighting techniques, including methods of dealing with data fear “in the moment,” methods of mitigating data fear related to using, sharing, and reporting data, and demonstrating how many common data tasks need not be scary. They further offer a self-assessment instrument and process to help individuals assess their level of data fear/comfort, identifying which specific dimensions of data fear/comfort may be most problematic at both the individual and organizational level. The book examines how individual data fear can “infect” organizations, collaboratives, and communities, and how to “bake in” data fear prevention in one’s efforts to create and sustain a data-informed culture.

    It is important reading for both practicing and future public servants, including those enrolled in Public Administration, Public Policy, and Nonprofit Management programs. 

    Introduction  PART I: The Nature of Data Fear  1. The Nature of Fear  2. Stages of Data Comfort  3. Fear Related to Capacity  4. Fear Related to Use  PART II: Assessing Our Abilities and Anxieties About Data  5. A Fear Self-Assessment  PART III: Addressing and Overcoming Data Fear: Taming the Fear Monster  6. A Fear-Fighting Toolbox  7, Analysis Doesn’t Have to Be Scary  8. Approaches To Reducing Fears Related to Use  Part IV: Moving Beyond Individual Data Fear  9. Organizational Data Fear  10. Collaborative Data Fear  11. Creating and Sustaining a Data-Informed Culture  12. Data Fear and The Application of Evidence-Based and Promising Practices  13. Community Data Fear and Data Responsibility  14. Data Fear and DEIA (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility)  15. The Promise and Perils of the Use of Artificial Intelligence in Data Analysis and Reporting  16. An Interview With The Authors


    Anne McIntyre-Lahner is CEO of Action to Outcomes and Adjunct Professor in the School of Public Policy at the University of Connecticut, USA.

    Ronald Schack is Managing Director of The Charter Oak Group, LLC, and Adjunct Professor in the School of Public Policy at the University of Connecticut, USA. He holds a doctoral degree in Political Science from the University of Connecticut.

    “Any reader of this volume will find themselves more comfortable with data and perceived by others as more competent in making data-driven decisions. It is a small investment with a high payoff for individuals, their present or future organizations, and the citizens they serve…It is a necessary complement to courses on statistics or quantitative decision making, and should become widely adopted in Public Administration, Public Policy and Nonprofit programs, as well as many professional degrees.”

    From the Foreword by Marc Holzer, Founding Dean and Professor Emeritus, School of Public Affairs and Administration, Rutgers University, USA; Founder, National Center for Public Performance

    "I have seen the effects of data fear many times throughout my career in public service. Anne and Ron offer practical approaches to alleviating these fears both at the individual and organizational level. This book is a critical read for anyone who wants to overcome data fear in themselves or others.”  

    Toni Harp, former Mayor of New Haven (2014–2020), USA; Connecticut State Senator (retired); Chair, Appropriations Committee

    “Working with both Anne and Ron on many initiatives, I have gained a real appreciation for how powerful data can be in convincing key decision makers to embrace change. New public policies and investments must be rooted in data and then continually measured to ensure effectiveness and public support. The book is a must read.”

    William Carbone, Distinguished Lecturer, Executive Director of Justice Programs and The Tow Youth Justice Institute, University of New Haven, USA; Executive Director (retired), Court Support Services Division, Connecticut Judicial Branch