I wonder what the proper way of writing this question is:

  • What do the data show?
  • What does the data show?
  • 1
    Greetings, and welcome to Writers! Your question is currently off-topic, because it is about a specific piece of writing or problem. If you can edit it to help everyone (eg, 'what do you do in this circumstance'), it will be on topic. – Thomas Reinstate Monica Myron May 26 '15 at 23:58
  • Please note that grammar is also off-topic here, in most situations. – Goodbye Stack Exchange May 27 '15 at 0:47

What does the data show?

I believe data is a collective noun (though I am not 100% sure on that). Collective nouns are plural only when the context is speaking of their individual parts, or members. Otherwise they are singular. Therefore, you would use does, which is the singular form of the verb do.

Now if you were to say:

What do the data records show?

Things would be different, because you are referring to the members of the data (records).

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