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Finding Data & Statistics on the Web

What is the Difference Between Data & Statistics?

Data is the raw information from which statistics are created.  Data can be observational, machine simulated, experimental or generated from existing datasets. Statistics provide an interpretation and summary of data, usually displayed in tables or charts.

How to Find Data & Statistics on the Web

1. Start by identifying your problem statement.  What is the goal of your research?  What questions do you have?

2. Think about who might collect the data:

  • A government agency?  Even if your research topic does not appear related to the federal government, the U.S. government outputs a lot of useful, publicly-available data. 
  • The open government data and government movement has spurred the launch of state and local data portal. Search Google for a city and data portal
  • A non-profit organization?
  • An academic researcher or university?

3.  Search Data Archives on the web. If you have a general subject area, check the subject links under the Finding Data Tab on this guide.

4.  Investigate the scholarly literature.  Use library databases to find articles or reports that may contain the data or statistics on your research topic.

5. Try Google or Zanran to search for statistics on the open web. Use Google Advanced Search to narrow your search by site or domain.

Quick Start: Finding Data & Statistics