What are statistics? What are data?
Data and statistics are different things, even though we sometimes use the terms interchangeably.
Statistics often answer questions that ask How often something happens or How many things were collected over a given time, e.g.:
- In 2011, Ontario farms yielded a cumulative total of 146,028 metric tonnes of apples
- In 2005, the median household income in Kitchener-Waterloo was $64,522
Statistics are generally found in tables, as shown in the examples above. CANSIM, Statistics Canada’s socioeconomic database, is a large provider of statistics.
Data are the values that are collected from which we produce statistics. e.g.:
- Apple yield at Ontario farms in metric tonnes in 2011:
- Farm 1: 300
- Farm 2: 435
- Farm 3: 740
- Household Income in Waterloo Region in 2005:
- Household 1: 34,000
- Household 2: 84,000
- Household 3: 58,000
These bullets represent values that have been collected, often through surveys and scientific studies. We can manipulate these data with programmes such as SPSS, SAS, and STATA to produce statistics. We can access many Canadian data resources and create our own tables and ssubsets through <odesi>.
How do I cite data and statistics?
Please consult our guide on citing data and statistical resources in your research.