New materialist and posthuman research methodologies are quickly gaining traction in educational research. According to its proponents, new materialism takes us to radically new places of praxis as it reconfigures central notions such as data, researcher positioning and critique. Here I consider how the notion of ‘data’ is invoked in an example of new materialist research by education scholars. Through this critique, I come to question the extent to which the approach constitutes a reconfiguration or whether, instead, it is continuous with some old and problematic tropes. I wonder if the positioning of data as supremely agentic elides the new materialist insistence on intra-action and discuss some of the implications of that including the depoliticisation it entails.