There is no standard dictionary definition to quote, but put simply, quantitative literacy is the ability to understand and interpret numerical information.
There are a number of terms that are often used interchangeably (although distinct meanings may be parsed out) to discuss the concept of quantitative literacy: statistical literacy, data literacy, and numeracy.
Quantitative Literacy involves a familiarity with the research methods that are used to gather and manipulate data. This allows you to make sense of the charts, graphs, tables and statistics that appear in the news, journals, books and websites that you read and to view their validity with a critical eye.
Quantitative Literacy is not restricted to the mathematical disciplines. In fact, Library Data Services focuses on serving the social sciences here at MSU. Statistics are used to describe social problems and chart historical trends over time.
There are many library resources that contain data and statistics. Library Data Services supports the development of quantitative literacy by helping researchers identify high-quality sources of numeric information and by promoting the use of critical thinking skills to interpret data and statistics. Classroom and personal instruction on the identification and use of library resources are available by request.
A selection of books in the MSU Libraries dealing with quantitative literacy topics, themes, and skills. For additional title recommendations, the StatLit.org website provides an excellent list of popular and academic books.