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I am trying to find an appropriate term to describe general data in the form of statistics or reports that give somebody a general overview on a topic. I am trying to distinguish this from very specific and nuanced insights and findings one may take from a specialist report.

  • Welcome! "Top level" usually implies excellence. I think you need "High level" or "big picture". Please give us a sample sentence with a blank _____ where the word should be. That will give us some context to work with. You can edit your question to add this. – chasly - supports Monica Jun 25 at 13:33
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    There is a subtle difference between data and information. Arguably "top-level" isn't really the point here. What people are interested in is probably [usefully] summarised data (which if they're lucky might be "informative"). – FumbleFingers Jun 25 at 13:34
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I suggest "high level" instead. Here's the relevant definition from the OED:

[...] relating to or concerned with a subject, system, or phenomenon as a whole, rather than its particular details.

Here's the OED's only definition for "top level":

The highest degree of importance, prestige, or ability; usually (with hyphen) attributive, designating that which belongs to or takes place at such a level.

I'm a data scientist and, depending on the situation, I might also refer to "summary statistics" or "metadata." If you provide a sample sentence, it would be easier to pick the right word.

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Related to comment of @FumbleFingers. How about summary data? From Lexico:

summary: Not including needless details or formalities; brief. E.g., summary financial statements.

Summary financial statements provide a good example of presenting "general data in the form of statistics or reports that give somebody a general overview on a topic" as distinguished from "very specific and nuanced insights and findings one may take from a specialist report."

COVID-19 data for number of cases and number of deaths provide another good example. One could have summary data for the world as a whole, for individual countries, for collections of countries, for parts of individual countries, etc. One could also break the data down by age, race, socioeconomic factors, etc. You would have to decide what to include, or not, in your summary data. Specialists and other interested parties could "drill down" to any level of detail desired in more detailed reports.

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