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Library DIY

Do I need Data or Statistics?

Do I need data or statistics?

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

Finding Data

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

I Am Looking For Statistics

Since there are many types of statistics, how you search will depend on the kind of information you need.

You can see a list of all of our databases that contain Data & Statistics.

More Strategies for Finding Statistics

  • Subject Guides: Many include links to useful statistical and data sources in that subject area. 
  • 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 (like the BP one below). When finding things on the Web, evaluate the source the carefully for reliability and potential bias. 

Screenshot of Google Scholar search (contrasts the author of the first result, an advertisement, and later sources with more authoritative authors)

Search the catalog. IUCAT contains books and government information with statistical information. In the Advanced Catalog Search, enter your topic in 'All Fields' 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 IUCAT Advanced Search screen (highlights 'Subject' and 'Publication year' fields)