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Statistics & Data: Get Started

Statistics Canada - PUMFs

Are you looking for the Public Use Microdata File (PUMF) for a Statistics Canada survey that is made available through the Data Liberation Initiative (DLI)?

If so, check out ODESI, the web-based data retrieval system for PUMFs and other pre-formatted datasets from Statistics Canada.

The DLI

The Data Liberation Initiative (DLI) makes available specific datasets and files, including public use microdata files (PUMFs), to subscribing Canadian post-secondary institutions. The annual subscription fee allows faculty, students, and staff at these institutions unlimited access to these files for research and academic purposes. (DLI Licence

Access these files directly via ODESI.

Read more about the DLI.

Key Links

Data vs Statistics vs Information

These terms are often used interchangeably, but they are actually very different, as shown in the following table.

Table: Movie Rentals per Month by University Students

Data Statistics Information
2, 3, 2, 1, 4, 3, etc. average number of rentals: 2.5 20 university students rent fewer than 5 movies per month
10, 15, 12, 14, 18, etc. average number of rentals: 14 20 university students rent more than 10 movies per month

 

Statistics are generally presentation-ready; Data will need to be manipulated in order for it to be meaningful.

What are Statistics?

According to Statistics Canada, statistics refers to "a type of information obtained through mathematical operations on numerical data" (Statistics: Power from Data!).

Examples of statistics include:

  • the median income of people in a city
  • the average number of children per family in a neighbourhood
  • the average temperature over the past week

What are Data?

Yes, "data" is plural! (singular form: datum)

According to Statistics Canada, data are "the raw material from which information is obtained" or the "facts or figures from which conclusions can be drawn" (Statistics: Power from Data!)

Examples of data include

  • the individual income levels of every person in a city
  • the actual number of children per family for each family in the neighbourhood
  • the temperature, taken at hourly intervals, during a one-week period

Other Sources for Help

For assistance in statistical analysis, contact your supervisor, professor, or TA.

For technical help and computing support, contact IST or Faculty Service Desks.

Other specialized services include the Statistical Consulting and Collaborative Research Unit and the Survey Research Centre.