Strategy 1: Search in Data Archives and Repositories
Data archives and repositories either host data directly or offer a list of sources to find data research projects.
These archives and repositories can be cross-disciplinary, discipline-specific, or located on college/university websites.
Strategy 2: Identify Statistics that can lead to Data
Finding statistical figures, analyses, and visualizations can also lead to data sources by examining citations in published or non-published works.
You can also search for statistics using Google Images and track the image back to the source. Ask yourself:
Strategy 3: Identify Potential Producers or Creators
Considering who may produce or create data can help you create an effective search strategy.
When looking for data consider:
Once you have identified a producer or creator, use a search engine to check if they’ve made the data you need available online.
Strategy 4: Search in Published Literature
Data are often linked directly to, or cited in in discipline-specific research publications.
Consider searching for research studies utilizing either primary or secondary analyses to see if the data are publicly available; a good place to start is to search in NDSU's Library Databases.
You can also contact the author(s) and see if they would be willing to share their data with you.
Strategy 1: Conduct Targeted Online Searches
Identify keywords for your search and enter them into a search engine followed by ‘statistics’.
You can also limit your search to government or educational websites by following your search terms with ‘site:.gov’ or ‘site:.edu’ respectively.
You can also conduct a Google Image search for your topic and if you find a graph, map, or chart of the information you want, click the image to identify the source.
Strategy 2: Identify Potential Producers or Creators
Considering who may produce or create statistics can help you create an effective search strategy.
When looking for statistics consider:
Once you have identified a producer or creator, use a search engine to check if they’ve made the statistics you need available online.
Strategy 3: Search in Published Literature
Consider searching for research studies that may utilize the type of statistics you need; a good place to start is to search in NDSU's Library Databases, identify a statistic of interest, and track the citation back to the source.
Use the questions below to guide you through the data and statistics evaluation process.
Who created, collected, or produced the data or statistics?
Do the data or statistics fit your needs?
How was the data collected or the statistics generated?
Does the codebook provide sufficient documentation?
Are the data or statistical visualizations (such as charts, graphs, maps, etc.) misleading?
When using data and statistics it is important to provide a citation to acknowledge the creator/producer and to point others to the resource.
Citations for data sets and statistics often include components similar to other types of citations:
Below are resources for citing sources in AMA, APA, Chicago, and MLA.
For additional style guides, please visit the NDSU Center for Writers' website.
AMA (American Medical Association)
AMA Manual of Style: A Guide for Authors and Editors, Main Library Reference -- 1st Floor: R119 .A533 2007
APA (American Psychological Association)
Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Main Library Reference -- 1st Floor: BF76.7 .P83 2010
Chicago Manual of Style
The Chicago Manual of Style, Main Library Reference -- 1st Floor: Z253 .U69 2010
MLA (Modern Language Association)
MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, Main Library Reference -- 1st Floor: LB2369 .G53 2009
Open data is data that is freely available and can be reused and distributed. Increasingly, funding agencies are requiring data resulting from funded research to be made openly available.
Open data is generally characterized by:
Open data resources: