When working with statistics, aggregate data, and microdata, it is important for you to consider the following:
- Context - what is the hypothesis, e.g. "middle income people are more likely to register and vote than lower income".
- Geography - the US, county, city, neighborhood, congressional district
- Time Period - current, historical, over time,
- Population/Units of Analysis - age, sex, race, ancestry, educational attainment/households, individuals
- Variables - observations or item of data for each unit of anlaysis; responses to questionnaire and how they are organized
- Questionnaire - what questions were asked; shows what will and won't be available in the data
- Source of the Data - is it publicly available from a government source or collected and produced by a company for profit?
Not sure what these and other statistical terms are? Check out the Glossary of Selected Computing and Social Science Data Terms (Jim A. Jacobs)