Writing About Data in Psychology Papers and Reports


Have you seen the data?

The word data is a plural noun and takes a plural verb. See the following two examples.

Our data do not indicate why a discrepancy might exist, but the findings could be consistent with those of Kakhnovets (2011) who found that Extraversion was a factor for women but not
men in seeking psychotherapy (Sutton et al., 2018, p.20).

There are data suggesting that certain infants appear to actively suppress activation of the attachment system (i.e., have trouble seeking care). Cassidy, 2000, p. 116)

We write:

Data are not data is.

Data were not data was.

Data reveal not data reveals.

Data show not data shows.

If we wanted to write about one item from a data set, we could use the singular form, datum.

One score in a set of scores is a datum. Datum is rarely used.

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Cassidy, J. (2000). Adult romantic attachments: A developmental perspective on individual differences. Review of General Psychology, 4, 111-131.

Sutton, G. W., Kelly, H., Worthington, E. L. Jr., Griffin, B. J., & Dinwiddie, C. (2018) Satisfaction with Christian psychotherapy and well-being: Contributions of hope, personality, and spirituality. Spirituality in Clinical Practice, 5 (1), 8-24. doi: 10.1037/scp0000145

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