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Guide to the most useful print and electronic resources for locating information on a variety of economics-related topics.

Using Data

What type of data am I looking at or looking for?

Summary-Level Data: Published data. Use summary-level data if you are looking for a quick statistic such as the unemployment rates or the GDP for various countries.

Micro-Level Data: This is the numerically-coded results of individual responses, such as census questionnaires, public opinion surveys, etc. You can work with the data and run your own statistical analyses on it via programs such as SPSS, SAS or other statistical software. If you are working with the raw data, you need to use the data documentation (codebook) that accompanies the data and write a program or use an extraction program to have the computer "read" the data into a useable format.

Data Documentation, Data Dictionaries, Codebooks: These provide information on the structure, content, and layout of a data file and, if applicable, the questionnaire used for the survey or study. Many codebooks are available with the data file.

Finding and Citing Data

If you haven't already found data, but need to for your project, use our Finding Data & Statistics Guide to help you find and cite data.

General Sources

If you are trying to find statistics on a particular topic, i.e. national spending on healthcare, but aren't sure where to look, begin with the three sources listed below. They allow you to browse statistics by topic and often will point you to the appropriate agency and/or publication.

Economic Indicators

This list is by no means comprehensive, but is intended to point you to the economic indicators frequently reported in the news.

Government Finances

Business and Industry Data