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Social Work Policy Sources

Evaluating statistical information

What is statistical information and how should we evaluate it?

To your right, you'll find some reputable resources for statistics. When examining their data, ask yourself some basic questions about the value of the data, including:

  • What population is being studied? How big is it? What kind of individuals, and in what proportions? 
  • What is the value of these numbers? For example, if you're comparing two statistics, are they measuring the same thing? Are they using the same methods and instruments? Are they defining that thing in the same way?

When considering new data, critically evaluate it before you put any stock into it. If you want to use data but have concerns about it, address your concerns in your research.