What is Data?
Data and statistics are primary sources which can be used as evidence, background information, or context for a topic.
Questions to ask yourself before searching for data sets or statistics:
- What data do I need to answer my research question?
- What are my variables?
- what is my time frame and geographic area?
data: quantitative (numerical) and/or qualitative (text, images, sound, etc.) information collected during research.
Formats: numerical tables, photos, sound recordings, descriptive notes,
statistics: data that have been analyzed, summarized, interpreted, and/or evaluated.
Data analysis can be statistical, mathematical, and use other procedures to answer research questions.
data visualization: Presenting data or statistics in a visual format.
Formats: tables, charts, maps, graphs, infographics, reports,
Once you find a dataset online, you will have to evaluate quality of the research used to create it. This video explains some factors to consider.
General Data & Statistics
Google Public Data Directory List of open data sources on the web
Google Dataset Search Search for datasets online
Open Access Directory Data Repositories List (Simmons College Wiki)
Data.gov US government portal for agricultural, economic, environmental, health, education, science, and government data.
Michigan State Data: government, history, health, finance, economy, education, environment, public safety, and GIS
Demographic Data & Statistics
Gapminder international economic, medical and social statistics
UNICEF: international data about children and women
International Database: demographic information for 228 countries with 5,000 or more people from UDS.
American Fact Finder United States Community Information based on the US Census (2010)
Open Data Network U.S. Data organized by state and metro area.
Statistical Abstract of the United States: historical census data 1889-2010
Health and Medicine Data & Statistics
HealthData.gov: US health and medicine data
National Center for Health Statistics- Fast Stats Alphabetical list of stats on public health issues
National Center for Health Statistics- Health annual report Datafinder and infographics
The Broad Institute: Cancer related data sets
State Health Facts (Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation)
Business and Economic Data & Statistics
Google Finance: US and International Stock Market Data
US Department of Labor: US inflation, employment, consumer spending, time use, and productivity data
US Bureau of Economics: US and international inflation, GDP, employment, consumer spending,
International Monetary Fund: International economic data
UN Comtrade Database: international trade data from the United Nations
Criminal Justice Data & Statistics
WILENET: Wisconsin Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR)statistics
Bureau of Justice: Data about US law enforcement, prison, parole and probation, and courts
National Crime Victimization Survey: Personal & household crime data 1973- from the US Dept. of Justice.
International Crime Victims Survey: United Nations survey of crime and safety in the European Union.
Recommended Library Guides
These guides from other college and university libraries provide additional data sources and tips for searching.
- Davenport University Public Data Guide
- UCLA Social Statistics and Data Guide
- U of Wash Evaluating Data and Statistics Guide
- NDSU Finding Data and Statistics Guide
- Carleton College Data Search Strategies Guide
- UMich Finding Data Guide