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EDUC Y639 | Multilevel Modeling


Investigating the Authority of Data

To avoid using data in a way that perpetuates systemic racism and injustice, it is critical to investigate the authority of data producers and reporters. Data is not neutral. Datasets necessarily reflect their producer's expertise, credibility, and bias. Use this guide to help you investigate the authority of both the datasets you encounter and that of scholars reporting and interpreting the data.

Guiding Questions

Investigate the Source

  • Was data collected by individual researchers or an organization?
  • Could an affiliation of the producer affect the work?
  • Why was the data collected in the first place?
  • Is the data source different from the reporter or citer?
  • If the data are repackaged, can you identify the original source?

Investigate Impact

  • What is the impact of the producer? How often is their work used or cited?
  • What is the impact of the data? Is it cited often?
  • How is the data used in the research? How does their use compare with yours?
  • Do peers have objections to the measure or producer?

Tools to Research Your Data

Tools to Discover Impact: Selective Scope

Tools to Discover Impact: Broad Scope

Tools to Investigate Organizations or Agencies

Further Reading

Explore these resources for additional information

  • Library research guide from Carleton College Gould Library: Data
  • Library research guide from University of Ottowa: Evaluate Your Data

For further investigation of Quantitative Critical Theory (QuanCrit) explore the following resources: