Finding, data that are "correct" and "appropriate" is much more than just knowing where to look for these numbers. Since most data collected are from a representative sample, it is essential to understand metadata or data about the data such as what is the defintion and scope of the data, what survey or interview questions were asked to elicit the data, and from whom were the numbers collected. It is also important to account for Margins of Error (if they are known) and if the basic data parameters (listed in the previous sentence) have changed over time. These factors are important to determine if data can be aggregated (added together) and compared for geographies or time periods. if so, sometimes these numbers are used to compute a completely new data point
As a former business and demographics librarian, Roger Magnus can help you find, evaluate, analyze, and present data so you have the "right number" to make the "best decision."
Roger Magnus Reseach has worked with datasets such as:
U.S. Census Bureau - Has over 130 different business, economics, and population programs including the Population Decennial Census, Americcan Community Survey, and Economic Census
Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) - Employment and wages
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) - Public company financials and executive compensation
Property assessor databases and other real estate resources for property values
990 forms - Nonprofit and Foundation tax filings that include revenues, executive salaries, and grants provided
Roger Magnus Research can also provide data analysis and visualzations with spreadsheet software and Tableau.
Examples of Data Metadata:
1. The Census Bureau, IRS, and BEA (Bureau of Economic Analysis) all define income slightly differently and include/exclude various components (wages, pensions, dividends, interests, etc.) in their total figures.
2. In using the Census Bureau's American Coomunity Survey (ACS) data, you must include a population estimate's margin of error if you plan to add figures or compare them by geography or time period to see if there is a "statistically significant difference."
3. There are 6 different typesof unemployment numbers that the Bureau of Labor Statistics compiles with the Official Unemployment rate being one.
4. SEC filings break down top executive compensaton into multiple categories (salary, bonus, stock awards, etc.), some of which are current and some deferred.
5. There are three possible property valuations that can be found: assessed, appraised, and market. In some states, the assessed value is not the full value of the property.