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Use a research guide from Penn Libraries that focuses on your discipline.
Identify an organization that studies the topic of interest and investigate their publications. In many cases this is a government agency, which may have data available for download on their website. See FedStats for a list of government agencies that collect data.
Search a data archive. Data archives are organizations that preserve research data for reuse. Some are subscription resources provided through the library; some are freely accessible.
Using a library database, find related scholarly articles and look to see what data sources the authors mention. Find databases by subject.
Online or in the library catalog, find relevant statistics and seek out the data from which the statistics were drawn. Try searching ProQuest Statistical Insight or Statista. In Franklin, try searching for "your subject" AND statistics by Subject. In Google, try for particular file types. For example, add filetype:csv to your search terms.
Data include conflict data, economic data, electoral systems and political behaviour, environmental data, health data, social phenomena, public opnion data, and information about international organizations.
USAID-funded program to collect and analyze demographic and health data for regional and national family planning and public health programs. Includes STATcompiler and HIV/AIDS Survey Indicators Database. Administered by Macro International, Inc.
The OECD's online library of statistical databases, books, and periodicals. To get to their health data, select Statistics, then scroll down the list of databases on the left-hand side of the page to find OECD Health Statistics.
Fulltext publications and statistical information from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) covering agriculture and food, education and skills, emerging economies and transition economies, employment, energy, enterprise, industry, and trade, environment and sustainable development, finance and investment, general economics and future studies, governance, international development, nuclear energy, science and information technology, social issues and migration, statistics sources and methods, taxation, territorial economy, and transport. NOTE: Some of the statistical data tools in SourceOECD require Internet Explorer.
UNICEF annual publication, provides overview statistics on nutrition, education, economic, social, and health issues affecting children worldwide and treats a single issue in depth: girls, education and development (2004), child participation (2003), leadership (2002), early childhood (2001), education (1999), nutrition (1998), child labor (1997), children in war (1996).
Country-level statistics on health and family planning worldwide. Topics covered include population characteristics and growth, economic development and employment, education and social indicators, health measures, pregnancy childbirth, and abortion, marriage and sexual activity, contraceptive knowledge and use, and contraceptive needs and services.
Time series statistical information for countries collected from UN and related international governmental organizations. Topics covered include population composition and change; human settlements, housing, geographic distribution of population; households and families, marital status, fertility; health, health services; impairment, disabilities; nutrition; education and learning and more.
Full-text for UN Development Programme global, regional, and national reports, describing development issues, including human rights, poverty, education, economic reform, HIV/AIDS, globalization, capacity building, and partnerships worldwide.
Estimates of incidence, health state prevalence, severity and duration, and mortality for over 130 major causes, for WHO Member States and for sub-regions of the world, for the years 2000 and beyond. Based upon Global Burden of Disease (Harvard School of Public Health, 1996).
The Global Health Observatory (GHO) is WHO's portal providing access to data and analyses for monitoring the global health situation. It provides critical data and analyses for key health themes, as well as direct access to the full database. The GHO presents data from all WHO programs and provides links to supporting information.
Quick access to World Bank economic indicators, and overview of World Bank data resources. Includes links to: World Development Indicators, Global Development Finance, Africa Development Indicators, Global Economic Monitor, and other World Bank data resources and programs.
Datasets compiled for World Bank research in agriculture, domestic and household finance, education, environment, globalization, governance, health, population and demography, industry, infrastructure, international economics, labor and employment, macroeconomics and growth, poverty, private sector development, public sector management, rural development, social development, transition economies, and urban development. Includes datasets supporting published research.
The World Bank's principal data source on the global economy. More than 550 time series, 1960-present, on more than 200 countries and 18 country groups, covering demographic, social, economic, financial, natural resources, and environmental indicators.
Questions to think about
Who If you could imagine the smallest unit you'd like to analyze, would it be individual people, households, firms, or something else? What is it that you hope to draw conclusions about?
What What should the data tell you about these people or other units? How would you measure that, and what kind of categories would you create. These are the variables you need.
When Do you need data from a particular historical period? Do you need a snapshot (i.e. cross-sectional data) or changes over time (i.e. a time series)? Is the series yearly, weekly, once a decade?
Where Do you need to know about a particular place--a city, county, state, or country? Within that place, are there smaller areas you would like to compare, e.g. neighborhoods within a city?
Why Why would someone record data on this subject? If you know who would be interested, then you can infer where you might find it. For example, the Centers for Disease Control is interested in the spread of diseases, so they might be a source for health data.