Statistical data will lend credibility to your research by providing facts and figures supporting your position. Therefore, statistics may be important to include in your class assignments, research papers, and theses. However, statistical data is not always easy to find since there is no single source for this type of information. Statistics may come from scholarly journals, magazines, newspapers, reports, websites, books, statistical databases, and more. The guide below outlines several techniques and resources for finding and evaluating statistical data.
Inclusion of erroneous statistical data can harm the credibility of your research. Therefore, it is very important to evaluate the source of your statistical information. The following questions will help you to evaluate the reliability of statistical information.
- Who is the author of the source that presents the statistics? What are the author's credentials? Is the author an authority on the subject? Could the author be presenting bias?
- What is the date of the statistics? How current are they? Are they relevant to the time period that you are interested in?
- Who is the intended audience?
- What type of publication is the data published in? And is the data clearly represented?
- Can the data be cross-checked in other reliable sources?
- Can the statistics be verified? Do the methods used and data presented seem valid?