Using Data to Make Decisions

High angle view of two young high school students reviewing a document and data on laptop during a meeting.

Youth Advisory Councils (YACs) can use data to develop projects and drive decisions.

What Are the Two Different Types of Data?

It is important to use data to make informed and verified decisions.  There are two main types of data.

  • Quantitative data
    refers to any information that can be quantified, counted or measured, and given a numerical value.
  • Qualitative data
    is descriptive in nature, expressed in terms of words or language rather than numerical values.

Both types have pros and cons and often complement each other.

Why Use Data to Guide Decisions?

With the help of supportive adults, youth advisory councils (YACs) can use data about schools and students to guide their work. High-quality data and accurate information are important when schools make decisions, including decisions about policies and practices. Using data is essential when planning for and implementing programs.

By using data, youth advisory councils can:

  • Understand key issues and causes of a problem.
  • Provide evidence for your opinions and recommendations.
  • Prioritize actions to adapt and improve programs.

What Happens When You Do Not Use Data to Guide Decisions?

Not using data might place too much emphasis on assumptions, which might not be true, about the issue you want to address. Guessing can result in poor use of resources that could have been avoided by using accurate data and information.