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 http://www.huduser.org/portal/datasets/hads/hads.html
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 (YA_Metro_Excel.zip) [Zipped data file]. Retrieved from http://census.socialexplorer.com/young-adults/#/report/quick/metro/22020/population-never-married-age-18-to-34
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.