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Searching for Statistics or Data

Statistics? Data? What is the difference? While often the terms are used interchangeably, data are the raw information from which statistics are created. Statistics provide an interpretation and summary of data.


Strategies for Finding Statistics

  • Look for specific groups that might do research on your topic. Consider who would be interested in your topic (e.g. certain government agencies, advocacy groups, think-tanks, institutes, or companies) Then look at the websites or search for reports from these groups on your topic.
  • Search the web. Many statistical sources are freely available on the Web. Search for the kind of evidence you're looking for along with the word statistics (or data). Watch out for the sponsored results and advertisements that can look like regular search results. When finding things on the Web, evaluate the source carefully for reliability and potential bias. 
  • Search the catalog. The Thrift Library catalog contains books and government information with statistical information. Select Advanced Search, enter your topic in 'Any field' and enter 'statistics' in the 'Subject' line.  If you're looking for recent information, limit the date range to the appropriate years (e.g. the past 3, 5, or 10 years).

screenshot of advanced search window in Thrift Library catalog


You can also try searching the following databases:

Video: Evaluating Statistics

Video: Using Quantitative Data

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