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# What is Data?

Data is organised information. It can be numbers, words, measurements, observations or even just descriptions of things.

## Qualitative vs Quantitative

Data can be qualitative or quantitative.

• Qualitative data is descriptive information (describes something)
• Quantitative data, is numerical information (numbers).

## Collecting

Data can be collected in many ways. The simplest way is direct observation.

Example: you might want to find out how many cars pass by a certain point on a road in a 10-minute interval. Then you simply stand at that point on the road, and count the cars that pass by in that interval.

## Survey

One of the most common ways of collecting data is surveying.

A survey is often in the form of a questionnaire or a census; the data collected may be a mixture of qualitative and quantitative data.

Another method of data collection is sampling. In this method, information about a large group is studied by gathering data about selected individual members of the group.

### Data or Datum?

Strictly speaking, the word “data” is in the plural (the singular form is “datum”). However, the word is often used as if it is a singular noun.