1/11 4. Collecting your data

Statistical Data

Statistical data is data that can be counted in some way. For example:

In the context of libraries, this could include numbers of people using the library, book issues per capita, Internet bookings per week etc.

In the context of education, statistics could include participation and achievement in education, public and private spending on education, the state of lifelong learning and conditions for pupils and teachers.

Statistical Data

Collecting statistical data can be a straightforward and unobtrusive method of assessing patterns of usage in very general terms; Statistical data can be collected from censuses, surveys and studies, some of which is freely available. For example:

Intute provides a list of free statistical resources on the Internet. Each resource has been evaluated and categorised by subject specialists based at UK universities and matched to the business curriculum and the needs of researchers. http://www.intute.ac.uk/statistics/

LAMPOST is an online summary of key statistics in areas of Libraries, Archives, Museums and Publishing. More information is at the Loughbrough university website.

Advantages and disadvantages of statistical data

First have a look at the advantages

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  • Relatively easy to collect data
  • Relatively easy to analyse
  • Can cover a large sample or the whole population

Now have a look at the disadvantages

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  • Proves little about impacts on individuals – needs qualitative data to provide the richer picture

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