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Finding Data and Statistics  

Last Updated: Oct 29, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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What Is Data?

Data is information collected during research. Data can be analyzed, interpreted, and/or evaluated using statistical, mathematical, and other procedures to answer research questions.

Data can be quantitative (numerical) and/or qualitative (text, images, sound, etc.)

Below is an example of raw data within an Excel spreadsheet.

This image shows raw data (and not statistics) because:

  • Analysis, interpretation, and/or evaluation hasn't occurred
  • Headings and cells may be difficult to understand without more detail regarding the research

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. (2011). Housing affordability data system, (hads2011(ASCII).zip) [Zipped          data file]. Retrieved from


What Are Statistics?

Statistics are data that have been analyzed, interpreted, and/or evaluated. Statistics are often presented in aggregate form and visualized in tables, charts, maps, graphs, etc.

Below is an example of statistics presented in a bar graph.

This image shows statistics (and not data) because:

  • Analysis, interpretation, and/or evaluation has occurred
  • The information (data) is summarized and visualized

United States Census Explorer. (2015). Never married, age 18-34 ( [Zipped data file]. Retrieved from


Understanding the Fluidity of Data and Statistics

Click the button above to open a new window that demonstrates the fluidity of data and statistics.


Library Research Guide Credit

The content from this Research Guide was inspired by the How to Find Data & Statistics Library Research Guide created by Hailey Mooney (Michigan State University).

Thanks to Hailey for making this great information available and for giving us permission to share it with NDSU.


Get Help

Questions about Data and Statistics? Contact Jylisa Doney or Alicia Kubas.

You can also ask for help by using the chat window.

North Dakota State University Libraries
NDSU Dept #2080 PO Box 6050
Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Reference (701) 231-8886
Circulation (701) 231-8888

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