Jargon Buster

The Jargon Buster is a document of terms, definitions and acronyms. It aims to provide simple explanations of common words and phrases used on this platform.

Table of Contents


Facts, measurements, recordings, records, or observations collected by scientists and others, with a minimum of contextual interpretation. Data may be in any format or medium taking the form of writings, notes, numbers, symbols, text, images, films, video, sound recordings, pictorial reproductions, drawings, designs or other graphical representations, procedural manuals, forms, diagrams, work flow charts, equipment descriptions, data files, data processing algorithms, or statistical records.

Data Collection

Methods of deriving information from different sources, including administrative sources, for example using surveys.


A collection of related data.

Data Source

The data source can be a database, a dataset, a spreadsheet or even hard-coded data. When data are displayed in a web page or application, in a column-row format or other formats, the data are retrieved from the data source and presented in the format defined in the code.


A visual representation of information or data, such as a chart or diagram.

Labour Force Survey LFS

Quarterly sample of UK households, it measures actual hours worked (not annual leave, etc) by industry, region, employees (EE) and SE.

Local Authority LA

A geographical area within England and Wales with a total population between 2,200 and 1,074,000 people, average 160,000 people (includes Unitary Authorities), for example Liverpool.

Lower Layer Super Output Area LSOA

A geographic hierarchy designed to improve the reporting of small area statistics in England and Wales.

Machine readable format

Data in a format that can be understood by a computer (not just digitally accessible) so that it can extract, process and transform data.


The phenomenon or phenomena to be measured in a data set.


‘Data about Data’. Information that describes a dataset or a data item. This includes information that provides context to the data, for example how it was collected, or the coverage of the data, for example publication date, description and search keywords.


The detailed approaches used to collect, process, produce, and analyse statistics and/or the research approaches used. The methods used and how (and often why) they were applied and the written documentation on this.

Open source software

Open source software is software developed by and for the user community.

Output area OA

Output areas are used across the UK as the base geographical unit for output. The 2001 Census output areas are designed specifically for statistical purposes. They are based on data from the 2001 Census and were built from postcode units. Output areas are used not only for Census output but also as the basis of super output areas which have been introduced as stable and consistently sized areas for Neighbourhood Statistics. Output areas are generally of size around 125 households and 300 persons, but in England and Wales the minimum threshold is 40 households and 100 individuals.


An individual release of information in either text or data form. A publication can be anything from a single sentence, an image, a single data table to an article or encyclopaedia.

Quantitative data

Data expressing a certain quantity amount or range. Usually there are measurement units associated with the units.

Qualitative data

Data describing the attributes or properties that an object possesses.


An edition of a publication. Includes data, charts and statistical analysis. Can be split into regular (quarterly/monthly/annual) or ad hoc (one-off) publications.

Release calendar

The area that shows users what releases are due to be published.

Release date

The date when a release is published.

Statistical classification

A statistical classification is a set of categories which may be assigned to one or more variables registered in statistical surveys or administrative files, and used in the production and dissemination of statistics.


Numerical summaries of data obtained by measurement and computation.

Sustainable Development Goals SDGs

A set of 17 global goals, with 169 targets between them, spearheaded by the United Nations through a deliberate process involving 193 member states as well as civil society. The goals are: 1. No poverty, 2. Zero hunger, 3. Good health and well-being, 4. Quality education, 5. Gender equality, 6. Clean water and sanitation, 7. Affordable and clean energy, 8. Decent work and economic growth, 9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure, 10. Reduced inequalities, 11. Sustainable cities and communities, 12. Responsible consumption and production, 13. Climate action, 14. Life below water, 15. Life on land, 16. Peace, justice and strong institutions, and 17. Partnerships for the goals.


A set of facts or figures systematically displayed, especially in columns.

Time series

A dataset that measures a particular feature for multiple points in time.

Unit of measure

Standard unit or system of units by means of which a quantity is accounted for and expressed.


A characteristic, number or quantity that is capable of taking different values in different situations, for example, increasing or decreasing over time.