Why Data Is Never Raw

Nick Barrowman – New Atlantis 

There is increasing – if belated – recognition that analysis and inference built on on data is vulnerable to bias of many different kinds and levels of significance. But there is a lingering unspoken hope that data itself is somehow still pure: a fact is, after all, a fact. Except that of course it isn’t, and as this post neatly argues, while raw data may sound less underhand than cooked data, its apparent virtue can be illusory:

In the ordinary use of the term “raw data,” “raw” signifies that no processing was performed following data collection, but the term obscures the various forms of processing that necessarily occur before data collection.

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