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Statistics, Demographics, and Other Quantitative Data

Statistics, demographics, and other data to help you analyze trends and relationships between economic, social, cultural, and biological processes influencing a population.

What is Quantitative Data? How is it Different from Qualitative Data?

A chart comparing Qualitative Data and Quantitative Data

image courtesy of Regents Exam Prep Center

Where Do We Find Data?

  1. Nonpartisan, non-profit fact tanks, such as Pew Research Center, independently funded by trusts
     
  2. Government statistical agencies, such as the Census Bureau, funded by the government
     
  3. For-profit research companies, such as Gallup, contracted by individual businesses/ entities
     
  4. Scholarly Research, published in academic journals, funded by individual colleges/universities
     
  5. News Sources (television and print news)
     
  6. Non-profit advocacy groups, such as the American Diabetes Association or Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Why Use Data?

Why Use Data?

  • Data can help us strengthen our argument.
     
  • Data, such as statistics and demographics can help us analyze trends and relationships between economic, social, cultural, and biological processes influencing a population.
     
  • Data can transform something abstract into something everyone can understand and relate to. For example, data can reveal how some abstract threat such as unemployment affects people based on their age, gender, or education. (From the Data Journalism Handbook)

 

Words of Caution

  1. Just because we are interested in something doesn't mean there has been data collected on that topic.

  2. Even when data has been collected, it may not be available. Some data is proprietary.

  3. Be wary of the source of your statistics. Consider that numbers can be misleading and that data may be compromised for many reasons, including sponsor bias, method of conducting research, sample size, etc.

How to Write with Statistics Effectively