Wednesday, 22 of February of 2017

Data is not statistics

You may be aware of data.gov, the Federal government website devoted to providing access to certain types of data. This site facilitates access to records of government activity, information that has been available in the past, but not necessarily in a form that lent itself to data analysis or use in computer applications. While this may be useful to you, it is what it’s called – data – not statistics. It’s raw data which has not been analyzed.

Often, what you need is not raw data. You might need to know the typical income of a plumber, the number of fatalities association with various forms of transportation, or the proportion of high-school students who graduated last year in your state. These are statistics.

Statistical information is available through many sources. Federal, state and local governments provide statistics. So do nonprofit organizations. Commercial entities develop statistics, and often make them available to the public, sometimes for a fee, yet often at no charge. In most cases, these statistics are prepared by well-qualified data analysts, who may provide significant information on background, methods and interpretation of results.

I’ve just written an article on great sources for statistics, to be published later this year. I’ll post an update with a link for you when it becomes available.


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