Finding and Using Statistics
This guide was created to bring together various statistical resources from the web. If you need any help with these resources, ask a librarian!
Points to remember:
- Statistics can help strengthen your research argument, but they cannot stand alone. They require interpretation and this interpretation should be supplied by you. You don't want to leave it up to your reader or audience to interpret what the numbers mean.
- Make sure that your statistics actually apply to your argument or point you are trying to make.
- Be careful of using statistics from sources other than government and academic sources. Popular publications like magazines have a reputation of publishing bad statistics. Make sure your source is reliable. See the Evaluating Statistics box to the right.
In the Online Library
Many of the library databases from EBSCOHost contain articles and eBooks that may include charts, diagrams, tables and other statistical information. Use keywords with your searches like:
- literacy AND statistics
- self esteem AND survey
The EBSCOhost Research Databases are found in the Online Library > Find by Resource > All Resources.
Questions to ask when evaluating sources for statistics*:
- Who is the author? Does this data come from a reliable source?
- Is the data current? Is the date range appropriate for my research? Note that sometimes historical data is useful depending on your assignment.
- What type of publication is the data published in? Is the intended audience appropriate for my research?
- Does the data help support my argument or research?
--If you are having trouble interpreting or understanding statistics you have found in your research, ask your instructor or the librarians for help!
*These are also questions to ask when evaluating other sources like articles, books, websites, and more.