The Ellen Clarke Bertrand Library

SOCI 208: Research Methods: Tips for Using Statistical Sources

Tips for Using Statistical Sources

Here are some quick tips for using some of the statistical sources that were covered in the library instruction session:

Statistical Abstract of the United States

  1. The ProQuest version is the most up-to-date. Use the Earlier Editions (via the Census Bureau) if you cannot find historical data points in the most up-to-date version. (Note: In the ProQuest version, you may be able to find more data points by downloading an Excel version of the table you are viewing.)
  2. Read the overview text found at the beginning of the section that you are consulting. The overview provides information on the types of data and how that data was collected, and may also provide definitions of key terms or measures used in the data tables.
  3. Consult the appendices for information about sources of data and possible limitations of data.
  4. Remember to use the index to look for data by topic, especially if you are using the Census website.
  5. Many tables will include notes about the source of their data in the form of a URL or agency name. Use these leads to find more data on your topic!
  6. Useful Documentation: Appendix 3: Limitations of the Data

American National Election Studies

  1. Click on the Resources menu and select "The ANES Guide to Public Opinion and Electoral Behavior"
  2. Some data are provided in both numerical and chart format. Additional data may be available about the demographics of respondents for each question.
  3. Useful Documentation: Descriptions of each type of ANES study. Further information about methodologies used in individual studies can be found by going to the Data Center page and clicking on "Study Page" for the study you are interested in learning about.

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Carrie Pirmann
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