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Industrial Relations & Human Resources Library

A guide to resources available through the Industrial Relations/Human Resources Library and the University of Toronto Library System

The Data Journey

Steps of the data journey

Statistics Canada has set out four major steps to the data journey to help researchers better conduct and understand statistical research.

Photo Source: (2021). Data Journey [Illustration]. Statistics Canada. 

Define, Find, Gather

The first step involves finding and gathering data for your research. In order to do this, researchers must first define the extent and limits of their data.

Statistics Canada has resources on defining data parameters and data quality.

Helpful Data Sources for IRHR Research




Explore, Clean, Describe

Step two is comprised of exploring and cleaning your data. This step is especially important if you conducted data collection yourself.

Step two might include:

  • Reformatting or summarizing your data in tables, frequency diagrams, etc. to help detect outliers and prepare for analysis in step three
  • Reviewing and 'cleaning' data to ensure quality and appropriateness for analysis
  • Reviewing data to check if anything is missing before analysis

Helpful resources for this step include:

Analyze, Model

Step Three involves modeling your data and turning it into digestible information for analysis by you and your research audience.

Analyzing can involve:

  • Data visualization
  • Drawing conclusions
  • Making predictions and inferences
  • Using software to complete statistical analyis

Resources for this step:

Tell the Story

Presenting your research to others is step four. Step four often uses many of the models and graphs generated by step three, and presents them in a story or narrative format. An important part of step four is data citation.

This step may involve:

  • A term paper or thesis
  • Publication in a scholarly journal
  • An infographic
  • Publication in the media

Resources for step four include: