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Looking for Statistics and Data?

This guide is intended to provide you with resources to find statistics and other data resources.

About this Guide

Academic databases are not always the place to go to find statistics and other data. This guide is intended to provide you with resources for finding statistics and data on a range of topics and subjects. The first questions to ask yourself when looking for data is "why do I need this information," and "who collects this information?" These questions and this LibGuide will help get you started with your search. 

Why Statistics?

Statistics, when used appropriately, can help provide examples of a larger trend, give the basis for an important chart or graph, or make theoretical arguments tangible.

Statistics can be:

  • Descriptive--Descriptive statistics is the term given to the analysis of data that helps describe, show or summarize data in a meaningful way. For example, looking at and describing patterns that might emerge from the data. Descriptive statistics do not, however, allow us to make conclusions beyond the immediate group of data. 
  • Inferential-- Inferential statistics concern the conclusions drawn about an entire population inferred from a sample population. Inferential statistics are techniques that allow us to use data samples to make generalizations about the populations from which the samples were drawn. It is, therefore, important that the sample accurately represents the population. 

Be aware--numbers can be manipulated, and charts and graphs can be arranged to give a certain impression. Always evaluate your sources and double-check your data and against other sources. Before using statistics in your research paper, also think about the purpose they serve. If you are just using them for the sake of using statistics . . . perhaps there is a better source you can reference.