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SOCI 111 / HSOC 111: Health of Populations Course Guide: Getting Started


This guide is intended to help students in HSOC 111 locate and use data on health and populations.

Related guides include:

Data on Health and Populations

Read more about child mortality in the Millennium Development Goals Report 2013 (PDF).

Things to Keep in Mind When You Work With Data

  1. Who cares about this topic?
    The organizations that are concerned by your health topic are the ones that are likely to collect and distribute data about it.

  2. Explore the data. Google Public Data, Gapminder, and World Development Indicators have data visualization tools for comparing countries and examining trends.

  3. Start with a research topic. What clues does your research topic give about the data that you'll need?
    a trend: To study a trend, you'll need data that covers a period of time.
    a disparity: You'll need data measuring the same thing for different populations.
    a comparison: This requires a cross-national data set.
    a pattern in: You'll need data for smaller regions within a larger geographic area.

  4. What techniques will you use to analyze the data, and which tools can you use?
    For making graphs and tables, data in Excel format might be the most useful.
    Certain data sets may be available in large files for use with statistical software.
    Some may have online analysis options.

  5. Are there national or international initiatives related to your topic?
    Programs like the Millennium Development Goals or Healthy People collect data to measure progress toward their goals, which are generally publicly available.

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Lauris Olson
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