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Data and Statistics

Introduction

This guide will help you to identify and locate sources for data and statistics. Keep in mind that although "data" and "statistics" are often used interchangeably, there is a difference. Statistics are a form of data, while data in its "raw" form is not statistics.

Evaluate your sources

Be critical: use the CRAAP test when viewing data and statistics.

Currency: Note that you may not always find statistics up to date -- it takes a while to collect the data and then publish it.

Relevance: Do the statistics support your topic?

Authority: Statistics from government agencies should be trustworthy! Always verify the source of the statistics.

Accuracy: Look at the statistics carefully for obvious errors.

Purpose: Look for bias. Anyone can take data and present it to suit their argument.