Statistics Finland's direct data collections are listed in the Data collections section. They can be browsed as follows: collections from enterprises, the public sector and households. The data collections can also be browsed alphabetically . Besides basic information, the section also contains the questionnaires and instructions of all data collections, links to the statistics compiled from the collected data, and contact information.
The requested information are data that are necessary for the compilation of statistics but are not readily available from administrative registers or other source.
Surveys can be divided into inquiries in which respondents themselves fill in a questionnaire, or interviews in which an interviewer asks the questions and notes down the answers. Data are collected by postal inquiries, electronically and by telephone or face-to-face interviews.
Each respondent is contacted prior to answering an inquiry. When collecting data Statistics Finland must inform the respondents in writing about the purpose the collected data will be used for and the procedures that will be applied in the collecting; whether and why the provision of data is obligatory or whether it is voluntary, as well as other essential factors bearing on the provision of the data. The home page of each data collection contain basic information about the purpose of the collection, its respondent population and data provision practices.
The collected data will form basic, raw data for statistics. The statistics compiled from the collected data serve decision-making, create preconditions for research and help to form a reliable picture of society.
Those obliged to supply data will receive feedback from the collected statistical data. The feedback may be e.g. data comparing your own enterprise's performance with other enterprises in the same industry or area. The statistics compiled from the collected data will also serve the respondents' own information needs. Therefore, providing data that are as truthful and accurate as possible will benefit everybody.
Outcomes from the data collections can be studied by clicking Results on the home page of each data collection. Statistics that are free-of-charge are published in the Statistics section of Statistics Finland's website. In addition to the free statistics, Statistics Finland also provides tailored compilations, datafiles and surveys. More information about these can be found in the Products and services section of this website.
The objectives of a statistical survey determine its target group of interest. A sample is commonly used instead of a comprehensive census in order to keep the cost and the response burden down. In sample surveys, respondents are mostly selected randomly, but the probability of getting selected can vary. For example, large companies are generally more likely to end up as respondents than small ones when data are collected for statistics on enterprises. The factors influencing the choice of the method that will be used in sampling include the study design, mode of data collecting and costs. Most methods make changing to an alternative respondent half way through the survey impossible in practice.
According to Sections 14 and 15 of the Statistics Act (280/2004), State authorities have a general obligation to provide data in their possession. Entrepreneurs and employers, local government authorities and non-profit institutions are obliged to provide data on subjects separately prescribed in law. Provision of data is always voluntary for private individuals.
Statistical legal acts of the European Union oblige Statistics Finland to produce statistics on Finland for the purpose of social decision-making and planning and to meet its responsibilities in international statistical co-operation. The objective of the Statistics Act is to create preconditions for an efficient and uniform national statistical service that considers both national and international information needs. The purpose of the obligation to provide data decreed in the Statistics Act is to ensure the availability of reliable statistics.
The target groups included in a survey are determined by the objectives of the survey. For example, the largest companies in their respective industries are often included in several surveys so that each survey would achieve sufficient coverage by industry. Likewise, local government authorities and educational institutes often participate in a large variety of surveys. Respondents to surveys of individual persons are mostly selected by random sampling.
If you are due to take part in our interview survey we make sure that the agreed time for the interview suits your timetable. Our interviews are designed so as to not take an unreasonable amount of time. It is a good idea to start answering the questions of inquiry surveys in good time so that if necessary new information can be added to the questionnaire before eventually returning it. The time the responding takes can successfully be shortened by studying carefully the instructions accompanying the questionnaire.
All respondents to questionnaire surveys are sent clear, written responding instructions they can study in advance. Quite often the instructions urge the respondent to provide an estimate if precise information is not known. For the compilation of statistics an estimate is generally better than missing data. Contact persons for the statistics concerned can provide further advice in problem situations if necessary. In interview surveys, the interviewer can clarify questions wherever needed.
If you are due to take part in our interview survey we make sure that the time agreed for the interview suits your timetable. However, if you need to change the time that has been agreed for a telephone or face-to-face interview, you should do it in good time. You can find the necessary contact information in the written material that you were sent about the background of the survey.
Suitability of the chosen mode of data collection is always assessed when a survey is being planned. Choice of the data collection mode has a bearing on all aspect of the survey process, such as selection of targets, cost, schedule, and quality of the obtained results. Face-to-face interviewing is the most expensive way of collecting data and it is only used when deemed necessary from the point of the whole process. We use face-to-face interviewing in order to reduce the burden imposed on the respondents and to speed up data collection, as the interviewer's presence makes it possible to clarify both questions and answers immediately.
Prior to the actual interview, the respondent is always approached in writing in the form of documents containing information and instructions concerning the survey and the interviewer's contact details. If you are due to take part in our interview survey we make sure that the time agreed for the interview suits your timetable. Thus, the actual interview always takes place at a time agreed in advance so that you will have had time to prepare yourself for it according to the provided instructions.
Our interviews are designed not to take an unreasonable amount of time. In our telephone interviews, questions are easy to understand and reply alternatives are succinct and clear. The maximum duration of a telephone interview is 30 minutes, so they are quick to do. The interviewer can give advice and guidance if something is not quite clear. Moreover, visual aids can be used in face-to-face interviews to give clarity to complex matters and ensure that questions have been understood correct. For example, the interviewee can be given guidance on how to keeping of a diary that may need to be returned later. Even face-to-face interviews rarely last longer than an hour.
In the data collections that Statistics Finland does, each respondent is always contacted in writing in order to provide them instructions and guidance for the survey. The purpose the collected data will be used for, and the procedures that will be applied in the collecting; whether and why the provision of data is obligatory or whether it is voluntary, as well as other essential factors bearing on the provision of the data are all explained to the respondents.
In Statistics Finland's interview surveys, the interviewers never telephone the respondents direct, but always send them a letter or brochure telling about the survey, and their own business card in advance of the survey. At the actual interview and during telephone contacts prior to it the interviewer will introduce him or herself and the survey, explaining what the interview concerns. If you still have some doubts about the matter, we would suggest that you contact Statistics Finland by filling a feedback form.
The home page of each data collection contains a selection of its questionnaires and instructions, as well as other supporting material for respondents. If necessary, contact persons for the collection concerned can provide further assistance.
Electronic collection of data is one of the key areas on which Statistics Finland is focusing its development efforts. A large number of our data collections can already be responded to via the Internet and the target is that all respondents to Statistics Finland's direct inquiries will have the option to send their answers electronically by the end of 2006. The available modes for answering are given on the home page of each data collection.
Statistics are always primarily compiled from data that have already been collected in some other context. Only such data that cannot be obtained from elsewhere but are necessary for the compilation of statistics are collected direct. I you are sure that you are supplying precisely identical data according to the same timetable to other authorities, we would ask you to get in touch with the contact persons for our respective data collection.
Statistics Finland offers enterprises a service in which they can check which Statistics Finland's data collections concern them. The "Enterprise data collection service” pages include information on upcoming data collections and their schedules, among other things. By offering enterprises advance information about data collections and changes made to them, Statistics Finland aims to facilitate the preparation for and responding to its data collections. You can order user identifiers with which to log in to the "Enterprise data collection service”. Detailed instructions on how to order enterprise-specific user identifiers can be found on the service's home page.
The Statistics Act obliges Statistic Finland to treat the data as confidential. The collected data will be used for the compilation of statistics. No individual data supplier's data can be identified from published statistics. No individual data supplier's data will be released to other authorities, but may be used for scientific research purposes. Even then, the data will be processed so that no individual data supplier can be identified from them. Section 13 of the Statistics Act lays down provisions on the release of data.
A party obliged to provide data may be exempted either wholly or partially from the obligation. When considering such exemptions both the data supplier's possibilities to provide the data in question and the importance of the data to the compilation and exploitation of statistics must be taken into account. An unreasonable inconvenience to the respondent means putting him in a deviating position relative to the other data suppliers. Exemptions may be granted on the grounds of bankruptcy, destroyed bookkeeping records or the fact that an entrepreneur has only just started operating. Section 8 of the Statistics Act (280/2004) lays down provisions on exemptions from the obligation to provide data. Applications for exemption from the data supply obligation must be made in writing.
As far as surveys and inquiries are concerned, the easiest way to do this is by getting in touch with the contact persons for the data collection concerned. Where the changed details relate to Statistics Finland's publications or other products, address and other customer details can also successfully be changed via the Internet by completing the adjacent form.
The instructions given about a data collection contain information on how you should proceed if your accounting period ends after the due date for supplying the data. Many inquiries ask for data for the accounting period that ends during the statistical reference year given on the questionnaire. Sometimes data are requested for a calendar year instead of an accounting period. The best way to find out about this is by getting in touch with the contact persons for the data collection concerned.To the top