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Data 101

In this LibGuide, we introduce you to the wide world of data, including data types (qualitative, quantitative, ethnographic, geospatial, etc.), finding data, visualizing data, and managing data.

Finding Data

Open data can be found in a variety of places. Links to other LibGuides and external resources to help you find the data you need are below: 

CMU LibGuides 

Examples of Open Data Repositories 

Search Engines for Data

DataONE Search: a platform for finding open data on environmental and earth science topics from across the world, with descriptive metadata for each available dataset. 

There are many reasons why you may want to use existing data. Below are some examples of common reasons to reuse data: 

  • You need data collected by another agency, such as the U.S. Census Bureau or the United Nations Statistics Division
  • You want to supplement your own collected data with historical data on the same topic
  • You are hoping to replicate the results of a scientific study by re-analyzing their open data
  • You want to blend data from several sources to produce a holistic analysis of a topic

Citing Data

When citing data which was gathered by another researcher or organization, it is important to appropriately cite where you obtained the data to give them proper credit. In general, your citation should include information on: 

  • Creator of the data
  • Name of the dataset
  • Year of data publication
  • Where the data is housed
  • Version (is the dataset a numbered version?)
  • Applicable access information, such as a DOI or URL

DataCite offers a recommended format for data citation at the following website:


For help with data or data-related tools, or for any other questions, please contact the University Libraries Data and Publishing Services team.