- Ask a Librarian
- FAQ

- eurostat Statistics ExplainedThematic glossaries covering statistical and general terms.
- OECD Glossary of Statistical TermsSearchable glossary for statistical terms and definitions.

** Data**: Fundamentally, data is information. However the term data typically refers to numeric files that are created and organized for analysis. Data can be classified as:

statistical summaries of data, meaning the data have been analyzed in some way.*Aggregate data:*Individual response data obtained in surveys and censuses - these are data points directly observed or collected from a specific unit of observation. Also known as**Microdata**:*raw data.*

** Data point**: Singular of

** Indicator: **Typically used as a synonym for statistics that describe variables that describe something about the socioeconomic environment of a society, eg, per capita income, unemployment rate, median years of education.

** Statistic**: A number that describes some characteristic or status of a variable, eg, a count or a percentage.

** Statistics**: Numerical summaries of data that has been analyzed in some way.

** Variable**: Any finding that can change or vary. Examples include anything that can be measured, such as the number of logging operations in Alabama.

** Database**: A collection of data organized for research and retrieval.

*Quantitative data/**Quantitative **variables*: Information that can be handled numerically.

*Qualitative data/**Qualitative **variables*: Information that refers to the quality of something. Ethnographic research, participant observation, open-ended interviews, etc., may collect qualitative data. Some element of the results obtained via qualitative research may be handled numerically, eg, how many observations, number of interviews, etc.

*Time series data*: Any data arranged in chronological order.

*Longitudinal data*: data that is collected repeatedly over a period of time, in which the same group of respondents are surveyed each time.

* Discrete data*: numeric data that have a finite number of possible values (1,2,3,4,5)

** Continuous data: **data that has an infinite number of possible values (1.4, 1.41, 1.414, etc.)

**Levels of Measurement**

** Nominal**: Nominal data have no order and only gives names or labels to various categories (yellow, white, pink).

* Ordinal*: Ordinal data have order, but the interval between measurements is not meaningful (low, medium, high).

** Interval**: Interval data have meaningful intervals between measurements, but there is no true starting point (Fahrenheit temperature scale).

** Ratio**: Ratio data have the highest level of measurement. Ratios between measurements as well as intervals are meaningful because there is a starting point (Kelvin temperature scale).

Definition References:

School of Data. *School of Data Handbook*. What is Data? http://schoolofdata.org/handbook/courses/what-is-data/; DATA-PLANET. *Data and Statistics Terminology and Definitions*. http://data-planet.libguides.com/dataterminology.

Calkins, K.G. *Definitions, Uses, Data Types, and Levels of Measurement, *https://www.andrews.edu/~calkins/math/edrm611/edrm01.htm.

Data or Statistics Reference: Western Libraries. *Data and Statistics*, http://www.lib.uwo.ca/madgic/dataandstatistics.html.

- Last Updated: May 9, 2024 9:00 PM
- URL: https://library.vassar.edu/stats
- Print Page