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Intro to Library Research: Find Data/Stats

This guide is a starting point for doing research at Wardman Library, finding and evaluating scholarly resources, and getting additional writing help.

Data vs. Statistics

In daily conversation, "data" and "statistics" are often used interchangeably, but these are not the same! Data are the raw numbers used to create statistics, while statistics are a way of interpreting or summarizing data.

Finding Data and Statistics

Ask yourself these two questions when searching for data and statistics:

1. Who might collect and publish this type of data?

Government agencies, state agencies, non-profits, for-profits, and academic institutions regularly conduct and publish research. If you are not sure where to find data/statistics, try to discover the group or agency most likely to collect and publish that information. For example, if you are looking for data on crop yields in the United States, the Department of Agriculture (its website and publications) might be a good place to start.

2. What type of publications would cite this data?

If you can't find data/statistics through one of our databases or freely online, try searching for academic articles that would cite the type of information you hope to find. For example, search JSTOR or Academic OneFile for "corn AND iowa AND statistics" might help you find articles that mention sources of data/statistics about corn crops in Iowa.

Get Help Using Statistical Software

We have a number of books on using SPSS and Excel to analyze data and create statistics. If you need help selecting one of these resources, speak to a librarian.

SPSS is installed on all the Windows PCs in Wardman Library.

United States Data and Statistics

California Data and Statistics

International Data and Statistics