- (Practical)They're a free source of huge amounts of qualitative data that already exist, sociologist could never be able to afford to produce research of this size
- (Practical)Statistics allow for easy comparison between groups.
- (Practical)They're collected at regular interviews so show patterns and trends over time, so they can be used to develop correlations.
- They're massively representative and allow sociologist to make generalizations. e.g. Census
- Few ethical issues, as they're usually in public there's no consent or privacy issues.
- They're meant to be reliable as they're collected in a standardized and brutal manor.
- Favoured by positivist as they see statistics as facts and objective, therefore they can use stats to prove hypothesis.
- The government collects data for its own purpose not sociologist, so there may be no data for use or some fit for the purpose
- Definitions used by the government may not be the same as sociologist and definitions change over time, making direct comparison difficult
- Validity of stats is questioned especially for 'soft' stats give a less valid picture e.g Crime statistics
- Interpretivist argue official stats lack validity, as they are no social facts, they're a social construction subject to bias. e.g suicide rates.