Data and statistics are gathered and disseminated by many organizations, federal agencies, individual researchers, companies and more, often making it difficult to find just the data or statistic you need. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you embark on a search for data and statistics:
While the terms data and statistics are often used interchangeably, they actually aren't the same! Data refers to the raw information that is collected and if often in the form of a spreadsheet, where each row represents one case. Statistics are summaries of data, often provided as a percentage, proportion, or average value. Do you need raw data or a summary statistic to answer your question?
Think about what time frame and geography you're interested in. Do you need historical information, or information spanning several years? Or just the most current information? Do you want information at a country, state or local level? Do you need international, non-US data or statistics?
Think about who would likely collect the data and disseminate the data or statistics for you topic. Would this data be collected by a large federal agency in a nationwide survey? If so, which agency? Or would it be more likely collected by a non-profit organization at a local scale?
There are many places to look for data. Here is a series of search strategies to try. You'll find links to many of these sources in this research guide.
To access current news in most major US newspapers, click on the links below or visit the Libraries' Databases List and search for the newspaper of interest. For historical newspapers, search 'historical newspapers' in the search box to find direct links to collections by newspaper title. For a more in-depth guide to find news, including historical and international, see the Newspapers Research Guide.
Microdata are data for which the statistical units are individual people or objects. These data have not yet been aggregated into statistics about groups, and thus can be downloaded, manipulated, used in statistical models, etc. Below are a few sources for large population and economic microdata sets.