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Government Datasets, Statistical Data & Census Information

Data is... or Data are... Which is it?

Though there is much debate about this, for now, most style guides still maintain that:

Data is plural and thus requires a verb in plural form  (e.g., The data show increased activity...).

Datum (which translates as "data point") is singular and requires a verb in singular form (e.g., Every datum shows a unique...).

For more examples, check out the APA style Blog post, " Data Is, or Data Are? " by Tyler Krupa.

Citing Data

Citing data properly is essential in the research process for several reasons. It acknowledges the creators of the data, facilitates replication, provides reliable information about the data source, tracks the impact of the data, and aids in resource discovery and access.

When citing data from others, it's crucial to follow recommended citation formats provided by the data provider, such as those offered by organizations like the OECD, ICPSR, and the Roper Center. These recommended formats may be included with the dataset or available elsewhere on the provider's website. Additionally, some data producers may request citations of a publication describing the data rather than the dataset itself, as is the case with the Database of Political Institutions.

In cases where a data provider does not specify a citation format, the following general guidelines are recommended:

  • Author or Principal Investigator
  • Year of Publication
  • Title of the Data Source
  • Edition or Version Number
  • Format of the Data Source (e.g., [Computer File], [CD-ROM], [Online], etc.)
  • Producer of the Data Source
  • Distributor of the Data Source
  • Identifier or permanent URL for the Data Source

Adhering to these guidelines ensures proper credit is given to the data creators, facilitates transparency and reproducibility in research, and enhances the overall quality and reliability of scholarly work.

NOTE: For further guidance on citation styles, we encourage you to consult our citation guide. This resource offers comprehensive information on various citation styles, including APA, MLA, Chicago, and more. Whether you're citing data, books, articles, or other sources, our citation guide provides clear instructions and examples to help you format your citations accurately and consistently.

Getting Your Data Cited

Increase your citation rates by allowing other researchers to cite your data and publications.  There are three critical steps to making your data more accessible and citeable:

  1. Appraise your data to determine where it could/should be published in the data lifecycle.
  2. Recommend your preferred citation format with your published data (include enough information in the citation to denote an exact version of your data). 
  3. Obtain a persistent identifier for your data to make finding and citing it easier for others.
Last updated on Apr 16, 2024 11:22 AM