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Statistical Sources: Evaluating Statistics

More on Primary Sources

Evaluating Statistics Checklist

Statistics and numbers can be manipulated to push an author's point of view. Evaluation is important.

Consider: 

  • Who collected and published the statistics? What are their credentials?
  • What data or statistics are being reported? What populations are included?
  • Is the information current? There is often a time delay between data collection and data reporting because of time needed for the analysis.
  • Why was the information collected? Who are the intended users? What it collected solely to educate, to persuade, to sell a product?
  • Can you find the original data source from which the statistics were created? Do the statistics looks accurate based on the data? If it was a survey, can you read the survey questions?