This exercise focuses on questions you can ask yourself to help you understand and critically evaluate data.
Examples of these questions include:
Do these data come from a reliable source?
How were these data collected and by whom?
Which data should I pay attention to?
What additional data should I be looking for in order to help me understand these data?
The second graph shows us a very different picture. Although America's debt is increasing steadily, this amount is also steadily decreasing in relation to her gross domestic product (gdp - value of all goods and services produced inside the borders of a country in a year). This second graph gives us the background we need to interpret the first graph.
We also need to ask if these data are reliable. Both graphs come from Wikipedia - a source that anyone can edit and change. This means that we need to check the original source of these data, and Wikipedia gives a link to this source:
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