Finding StatisticsStatistical data will lend credibility to your research by providing facts and figures supporting your position. Therefore, statistics may be important to include in your class assignments, research papers, and theses. However, statistical data is not always easy to find since there is no single source for this type of information. Statistics may come from scholarly journals, magazines, newspapers, reports, websites, books, statistical databases, and more. The guide below outlines several techniques and resources for finding and evaluating statistical data.
Inclusion of erroneous statistical data can harm the credibility of your research. Therefore, it is very important to evaluate the source of your statistical information. The following questions will help you to evaluate the reliability of statistical information.
- Who is the author of the source that presents the statistics? What are the author's credentials? Is the author an authority on the subject? Could the author be presenting bias?
- What is the date of the statistics? How current are they? Are they relevant to the time period that you are interested in?
- Who is the intended audience?
- What type of publication is the data published in? And is the data clearly represented?
- Can the data be cross-checked in other reliable sources?
- Can the statistics be verified? Do the methods used and data presented seem valid?
The Statista database provides current statistics from private and government sources on a wide range of topics including technology, health, public opinion, and market research. You can access Statista by hovering over Research Resources on the Library homepage and clicking on Databases.
On the Statista home page, you may enter a keyword relating to your research topic to retrieve results for Statistics and Studies & Reports, as shown below.
You may download Statista charts in the form of a .png image, or as Excel, PowerPoint, or Adobe Acrobat files. These charts are permitted for use in your papers and presentations, as long as you properly cite the original source of the data in your research, not the Statista database. In the example below, you would cite the World Health Organization (WHO).
Often you may obtain statistics from journal, magazine or newspaper articles on your research topic. The Library’s Roadrunner Search is a good starting point since it searches approximately 95% of the Library’s databases in a single, simultaneous search. To access, go to the Library’s homepage and look for the box in the middle of the page titled Roadrunner Search. Click on the Advanced Search link to bring up more search options.
You may include the keywords (ratio OR statistics OR proportion OR percentage) as part of your search string, as shown below. Additional keywords to consider are prevalence, numbers, increase, decrease, data, trends, polling, figures, and tables.
Conducting a search in Google or another internet search engine is also a good starting point for finding statistics related to your research topic. Reliable sources of statistics may include government and technical reports, scholarly journal articles, conference papers, white papers, and professional organizations.
When retrieving statistics from the internet, it is even more pertinent to evaluate the source as reliable and appropriate for use in scholarly research. Refer to the Evaluating Statistics section above for specific questions you should ask regarding the statistical source. The Website Evaluation page provides additional factors to consider before including online sources in your research.
Similar to a database search, in Google you may include the keyword statistics as part of your search string, as shown below. Additional keywords to consider are ratio, proportion, percentage, prevalence, numbers, increase, decrease, data, trends, polling, figures, and tables.
Government, agency and organizational websites are a great source of reliable statistical information.
Bureau of Justice Statistics – Provides information on crime, criminal offenders, victims of crime, and the operation of justice systems at all levels of government.
Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) - Principal fact-finding agency for the Federal Government in the broad field of labor economics and statistics. The BLS is an independent national statistical agency that collects, processes, analyzes, and disseminates statistical information.
Bureau of Transportation Statistics – Statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation are organized by transportation mode, region, or subject. Finding Transportation Statistics provides additional resources for statistics.
Business Data and Statistics: USA.gov - Find data and statistics on banking, earnings, economic analysis, trade and more. The U.S. government's official web portal for business data
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: FastStats -Provides quick access to statistics on topics of public health importance and is organized alphabetically.
ChildStats.gov - Provides statistics on children and families in the U.S. across a range of domains, including family and social environment, economic circumstances, health care, physical environment and safety, behavior, education and health.
Data and Statistics: USA.gov - The U.S. government's official web portal allows you to find data by topic, format, agency, and more.
Data.gov - Easily find, download, and use datasets generated by the Federal Government.
Department of Homeland Security: Data – Provides statistical information on citizenship, immigration, FEMA, and more.
FedStats - Easy access to statistics and information produced by more than 100 U.S. Federal Government agencies.
Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) – Provides statistics related to postsecondary education, including admissions, tuition rates, enrollment numbers, demographics of students, and more.
International Statistical Agencies – Directory of international statistical agencies provided by the U.S. Census Bureau.
National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS) - national repository of data on the nonprofit sector in the United States; provides high quality data on nonprofit organizations and their activities.
National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) - Located within the U.S. Department of Education and the Institute of Education Sciences, NCES is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education.
National Center for Health Statistics - Statistics from the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) – Data on key economic indicators such as GDP, inflation, unemployment, government debt and deficit.
Statistics on Child and Family Well-Being - Resources provide State and national statistics on child and family well-being indicators, such as health, child care, education, income, and marriage.
U.S. Census Bureau – Data on population & housing, economy, and demographics. Easy Stats gives you quick and easy access to selected statistics collected by the U.S. Census Bureau through the American Community Survey.
U.S. Energy Information Administration - Provides information and data covering energy production, stocks, demand, imports, exports, and prices.
US Statistical Abstract - Authoritative and comprehensive summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States.
The World Bank: Data - Provides data about development in countries around the globe.
UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) - Primary source for cross-nationally comparable statistics on education, science and technology, culture, and communication for more than 200 countries and territories.
UNSD Statistical Databases – The United Nations Statistics Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) brings UN statistical databases within easy reach of users through a single entry point. Users can search and download a variety of statistical resources of the UN system.
World Health Organization (WHO): Data and Statistics - Provides access to data and analyses for monitoring the global health situation.
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