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Public Health Data

Be data smart!

Data = raw numbers, not processed or organized, collected by many agencies and organizations

Data set = major unit of data storage, collected and organized in a retrieval system according to criteria

Statistics = data analyzed and summarized, presented as percentage, graph, table, map, etc. 


Statistics are collected to meet the needs of the collector. 

When mining online for data, consider how and why it was collected, where it comes from, and how it is presented. 

Who are the collectors?
  • Government agencies and entities who are required by law to make the data they collect freely accessible to the public
  • Organizations whose mission is to enhance transparency in health care policy development and decision-making

Second and third parties (such as and Town Charts) aggregate free data online and use advertising algorithms in search engines to make their websites easily discoverable. That makes data on these sites easy to find via Google. For authoritative information in context, researchers should consult the original source.

Want to become a data mining expert?