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Do you need data, statistics, or both? In this tutorial, we'll ask some questions and make some observations to help you decide. Data or Statistics? Title Slide
Understanding the requirements of your assignment or research project is always the first step in the process. Have you been asked to answer a specific question or provide numbers to support an argument? For example, what percentage of violent crimes committed in Boston were homicides or assaults? In Quincy, are more business permits issued for apartment houses or single-family homes? Decorative icons
"How many" questions are often answered by statistics. How many Asian and Hispanic immigrants live in Boston? How many children in Boston have asthma? Is this number increasing or decreasing? How many? With decorative Icons
Data many help you answer "how" and "why" questions and those answers may help you understand relationships among events or people. For example, are there data sets that help us understand why the childhood asthma rate is increasing? or decreasing? Are there data about air pollution? Numbers of days with air quality alerts? Better diagnostic tools for childhood illness, etc. How? Why? With Decorative icons, including an up arrow and a down arrow.
Statistics are often presented in ready-made tables charts, graphs, and infographics with references to the underlying data sets. Example table titled: Table 434: Reported Voting and Registration Among Native and Naturalized Citizens by Race and Hispanic Origin: 2016. References to data are highlighted under the table.
Work with datasets is likelier to require some knowledge of a variety of specialized tools for manipulating and visualizing the data. Also, most datasets are supplemented by codebooks and metadata which explain data collection techniques, limitations of the data, etc. If you've been asked to look at codebooks, or use data analysis programs, chances are you'll need data for your project. ICPSR Find and Analyze Data Logo and example codebooks and metadata.
Need help? Have questions? Ask a librarian. Call, email, chat, or come visit us in person. Closing Slide: Ask a Librarian