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Raw data

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Raw data

Regardless of whether the researcher collects qualitative or quantitative data, raw data is continuously collected. This raw data is important in research because it is later organised, analysed, and interpreted to determine if the research findings support the hypothesis.

Raw Data, Machine creating data results, StudySmarterRaw data is converted through analysis into meaningful results, freepik.com/storyset

Raw data in research

Raw data is essential in psychology research. Researchers use raw data to calculate descriptive statistics, which describe and summarise the data, helping the researcher and reader visualise the collected raw data and present it more clearly.

Raw data meaning

Raw data is data that has been collected from the researcher during research that has not yet been processed.

Raw data can be collected regardless of whether it is:

  • Quantitative – numerical data

  • Qualitative – non-numerical data

What is the difference between raw data and primary data?

Raw data is data collected during research that has not yet been processed. Primary data is data the researcher has collected themself from their experiment cited in a study. They are very similar.

Uses of raw data in research

There are many uses of raw data in research. Some of these include:

  • Organising data that can be later interpreted and analysed

  • Making estimations of what the researcher can expect to find from the results

  • Comparing data values between conditions/groups in experiments to identify notable differences

  • Constructing tables, graphs or charts, such as;

    • Frequency tables, bar charts, histograms and/or pie charts

Raw data Statistics StudySmarterStatistics, flaticon.com/premium-icon

Raw data in research

When collecting data for research, raw data is always collected. This data needs to be organised to be later analysed and interpreted by recording the data on a table. When designing raw data recording tables, the researcher needs to keep in mind several important things:

  • All of the data collected needs to be somehow recorded onto the table.

  • The researcher needs to consider how to record the data. For example, the data may be coded or tallied. The purpose of this is to make it easier to analyse data later.

An example of coded data used in research is M for male participants and F for female participants.

Raw data examples – standard form to decimal form

Below you can see an example data table. This table summarises the favourite colours of students. The raw data is written in standard form. The standard form is when the data is recorded by tallying the number of responses of students who identified the specific colour as their favourite colour.

RedOrange YellowPink Green Purple Total
42162520

The researcher may use this data to convert it from standard form into decimal form. To change raw data from standard to decimal form, the researcher must divide each category's frequency by the total number of responses, as shown in the example below.

RedOrangeYellowPinkGreenPurpleTotal
42162520
4/20 = 0.22/20 = 0.11/20 = 0.056/20 = 0.32/20 = 0.15/20 = 0.251

Raw data may be converted from standard into decimal form when doing some calculations. For example, researchers should do this when constructing a pie chart but alter it to reflect 360°.

Raw data examples – finding arithmetic means

Researchers can also analyse raw data in their research. For example, they can use it to find the arithmetic means of the data.

The arithmetic mean (or simply just the mean) is a statistic used to find the average of a dataset. To calculate this value all of the values need to be added together and divided by the count of values added together.

The raw data table shown below shows participant responses to the question, 'Have you been experiencing more pain than last month?' after taking a drug to help any pain. The response was based on a 1–10 Likert scale; 1 represents less pain, and 10 represents more pain. Researchers recorded the participants' responses in the raw data table below.

The researcher wanted to measure the average responses given in two groups (drugs versus placebo). Below you can see how this can be calculated and interpreted:

Drug (experimental) groupPlacebo (control) group
17
15
36
55
28
28
14
36
26

The average of the experimental group is: 1 + 1 + 3 + 5 + 2 + 2 + 1 + 3 + 2 = 20. We then divide this by 9 = 2.22

This figure has been rounded down to two significant figures.

The average of the control group is: 7 + 5 + 6 + 5 + 8 + 8 + 4 + 6 + 6 = 55/ 9 = 6.11

This figure has been rounded down to two significant figures.

Interpreting results: from the arithmetic means, the researcher can interpret that, on average, the experimental group experienced less pain than the control group. Researchers can then use further statistical tests to measure the significance of these results etc.

Raw data – sample raw data

When collecting raw data in psychology research, it is good to round the data values to two significant figures. There should not be more than two numerical values after a decimal point in data figures. Whether the figure should be rounded up or down determines these numbers. The numbers should be:

  • Rounded up if the third digit after the decimal point is above 5.
  • Rounded down if the third digit after the decimal point is below 5.
  • An example of raw data that should be rounded up to two significant figures is 0.887.
    • This would be rounded up to 0.89.
  • An example of raw data that should be rounded down to two significant figures is 0.883.
    • This would be rounded down to 0.88.

Researchers sometimes use raw data to make estimations. This is occasionally used when a psychologist wants to make a quick approximation/estimation of the data that has been collected.

Calculating something such as 487 x 9876 would be an example of using raw data to estimate. The researcher may calculate 500 x 10,000.

By doing so, researchers roughly estimate what they can expect to find from the results.


Raw data - Key takeaways

  • Raw data is data that has been collected from the researcher during research that has not yet been processed.
  • This raw data is important in research as this will later be organised, analysed and interpreted to identify if the research findings support the hypothesis.
  • There are many uses of raw data in research. Some of these include:
    • Organising data that can be later interpreted and analysed

    • Making estimations of what the researcher can expect to find from the results

    • Comparing data values between conditions/groups in experiments to identify notable differences

    • Constructing tables, graphs, or charts.

  • When designing raw data recording tables, the researcher needs to keep in mind several important things:
    • All of the data collected needs to be somehow recorded onto the table.

    • The researcher needs to consider how to record the data. For example, the data may be coded or tallied. The purpose of this is to make it easier to analyse data later.


Frequently Asked Questions about Raw data

Raw data is data that has been collected from the researcher during research that has not yet been processed. 

There are many uses of raw data in research. Some of these include:

  • Organising data that can be later interpreted and analysed

  • Making estimations of what the researcher can expect to find from the results 

  • Comparing data values between conditions/groups in experiments to identify notable differences 

  • Constructing tables, graphs, or charts.

Raw data is data collected during research that has not yet been processed. Primary data is data the researcher has collected themself from their experiment cited in a study. They are very similar. 

Raw data in psychology research is important because it is later organised, analysed, and interpreted to determine if the research findings support the hypothesis.

A list of all the test scores students received on the last test is an example of raw data. 

Final Raw data Quiz

Question

What is raw data?

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Answer

Raw data is the unprocessed data that is gathered in a study from participants.

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Question

What are the three components a raw data table has?

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Answer

A title that describes what the table is about, labels for the different parts of the table, any unit measurements such as millilitres (ml), grams (g) are put next to the labels.

Show question

Question

What is 9,000,000 in standard from?


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Answer

9 x 106

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Question

What is 0.0005 in standard from?


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Answer

5 x 10-4

Show question

Question

What is 6/10000 in decimal form?


Show answer

Answer

0.0006

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Question

How many significant figures does 0.367 have?


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Answer

Three

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Question

What are the rules for significant figures?


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Answer

A significant figure is the first number we come across that is not zero. For numbers 4 and below, round down. For numbers 5 and above, round up.

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Question

If we want to make a rough estimation of data collected, to what significant figure are the numbers to be calculated rounded to?


Show answer

Answer

One significant figure

Show question

Question

What is 4/100 in decimal form?


Show answer

Answer

0.04 

Show question

Question

How many significant figures does 0.2 have? 


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Answer

One significant figure

Show question

Question

What is raw data? 

Show answer

Answer

The raw data meaning is essentially data that has been collected from the researcher during research that has not yet been processed. 

Show question

Question

Can raw data be qualitative? 

Show answer

Answer

Yes 

Show question

Question

Why is raw data important in psychology research? 

Show answer

Answer

Raw data is important in research as this will later be organised, analysed and interpreted to identify if the research findings support the hypothesis. 

Show question

Question

What are some of the uses of raw data in psychology research? 

Show answer

Answer

There are many uses of raw data in research, some of these include:

  • organising data that can be later interpreted and analysed 
  • used to make estimations of what the researcher can expect to find from the results 
  • comparing data values between conditions/groups in experiments to identify notable differences 
  • to construct tables, graphs and/or charts

Show question

Question

What are important things that the researcher needs to keep in mind when designing recording tables for raw data? 

Show answer

Answer

When designing recording tables for raw data in research, important things for researchers to keep in mind are:

  • all of the data collected needs to somehow be recorded onto the table 
  • the researcher needs to consider how the data should be recorded.

Show question

Question

Which of the following is an example of coded data? 

Show answer

Answer

M

Show question

Question

Which of the following is an example of tallied data? 


Show answer

Answer

17

Show question

Question

How should 0.983 be rounded into two significant figures? 

Show answer

Answer

0.983 should be rounded down to 0.98 - we remove the 3. 

Show question

Question

How should 0.577 be rounded into two significant figures? 


Show answer

Answer

0.577 should be rounded up to 0.58 - the 7 is above the threshold for rounding up (5)

Show question

Question

How can the standard form (tallied) of raw data be converted into decimal form? 

Show answer

Answer

To convert the standard form of raw data into decimal form each category's frequency needs to be divided by the total number of responses.

Show question

Question

What type of chart/graph requires a researcher to convert raw data from standard form to decimal form? 

Show answer

Answer

Pie chart

Show question

Question

What type of statistic describes/summarises the raw data? 

Show answer

Answer

Descriptive statistics

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