This guide will address resources for statistics and demographics on the topic of education, with a focus on public school systems.
It will not focus on education datasets.
This guide will highlight federal and state resources (Connecticut). Federal resources will include state information as well. You might want to check both pages.
While often used interchangeably, these terms have technical differences.
The Oxford English Dictionary (OED Online. June 2021. Oxford University Press. Accessed 27 July 2021) defines:
Data is the raw information collected within a dataset - the primary source of information from the research. It can be analyzed and interpreted by statistical procedures. When the original researcher analyzes data, it is called primary data analysis; when one analyzes someone else's data, it is called secondary data analysis. Data sets usually have meta data - information about the data set: where and how the data was collected or pulled; error factors; standard deviations; and other technical information essential for those using the data. Data analysis is usually done with computer software - which is not usually included with the data set.
Statistics (stats) provide analysis and/or summary of the data after data analysis has occurred. Statistics are often presented in charts, tables, and graphs, or as reported numbers/percentages. It is important to cite the source of the data that was analyzed. It is also important to trust the source of your statistics - was the data analysis appropriate for the raw data collected? Were all factors considered in the analysis? Why or why not?
Demographics are description of a population - specific types of statistics. Demographics describe a sample of a certain population within a set geography, at a specific time span, in terms of socioeconomic factors - and present the information as an aggregate of the population. A few examples are: age; race; ethnicity; sex or gender; employment; income; poverty, etc. Just as with statistics, it is important to understand the source of data underlying the demographic information. How was the sample collected? What was the universe from which the sample was collected? Is the population of the geography truly represented?
The following are resources from other institutions to further explain the differences between data, stats, and demographics.
There are two aspects of history - the history of the agencies and finding historical information.
Knowing the history of a government agency can help a researcher find the historical information, as government publications are often organized by issuing agencies. This means a series might be shelved across several different call numbers (usually either SuDoc or ConnDoc classification for our collections). A librarian can help you locate the items within our stacks.