Say you're at the grocery store and you notice that your favourite brand of peanut butter is 50 cents cheaper than the last time you bought it. But when you look carefully, you see that the jar is 25mL smaller. The next biggest size costs a little less per mL, and as far as you can tell, it is the same size and price as the month before. So, is your favourite peanut butter getting cheaper, or more expensive? What about the price of peanut butter in general?
Every quarter, the StatCan Blog publishes a guest post on research at Statistics Canada. Our second post is from Feng Hou, principal researcher in the Social Analysis and Modelling Division, Statistics Canada.
With a little bit of experience or research, we can judge the quality of the clothing we buy, the food we eat or the car we drive. However, when it comes to data, quality is much harder to measure. After all, there is no comparison shopping when Canada only has one national statistical office. Nor can data users see a survey being conducted the way restaurant patrons can watch a chef assemble a sushi roll. Instead, for quality of data, users depend on the standards of the organization that produces it.