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WatPD: Find statistics/data

Contact the stats and data librarians

Agnes and Sandra, the stats and data librarians

For in-depth guidance, please email the stats and data librarians, Agnes and Sandra, at libSnD@library.uwaterloo.ca

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Data vs. Statistics vs. Information

These terms are often used interchangeably, but they are actually very different, as shown via the following example:

Movie rentals per month by university students
Data Statistics Information
2, 3, 2, 5 Average number of rentals=3 520 university students rent fewer than 5 movies per month
10, 15, 11 Average number of rentals=12 20 university students rent more than 10 movies per month

Defining statistics

  • According to Statistics Canada, statistics refers to "a type of information obtained through mathematical operations on numerical data."
  • Statistics are generally presentation-ready.
  • 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

Defining data

  • 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."
  • Data will need to be manipulated in order for them to be meaningful.
  • 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