Quantitative Data: Examples of Data Structures

1. Introduction

These examples are provided to show different kinds of data, of varying complexity, that historians use for quantification. They indicate that often the ideal tool for managing data for quantitative history depends both on its structure and on what you want to do with it.

Hence, it is important to model your own data - and work out your research needs - before you decide on software tools. Sometimes the best way to do this will be old-fashioned pen and paper!

Key issues to consider are:

  • How complex is the structure of an individual source?
  • Do you need to link together different sources of different kinds and structures?
  • How big are your sources, individually and as a whole? (You may need to use samples to estimate this)