Library:Finding and Using Data for your Research/Find Data/Data or Statistics

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Data or Statistics?

Statistics are the interpretation and summary of data. If you are looking for a quick number to demonstrate “how much” or “how many” you may want a statistic. Statistics are typically presented in tables or charts, and they reflect someone’s interpretation of raw data.

Data are raw information from which statistics are derived. If you want to get the whole picture in order to develop your own interpretation of something, you may want data. Raw data is a primary source and generally results from surveys and other research methods. Data are usually available in machine-readable formats for use with software programs like Microsoft Excel, SPSS, SAS, or Stata.

In many databases and research guides, data and statistics are grouped together under a single title or heading.