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HD FS 516/518: Methods of Research in Human Development

Finding resources to support data related research

About this Guide

How is this guide and presentation is designed?  

Effectively searching for quantitative data requires some fundamental understanding of how data publishing has evolved.  This guide introduce you to tools and resource that fit into three broad categories: discovering tables, online analysis tools, and data archives.

Each method contributes to a deeper discussion of the kinds of questions a user needs to think about in their quest and use of social science data.   

Below are just a few things we will discuss:

Before searching ask yourself these questions:

What level of geography do I want?
  • Understand unique geographies [i.e. tract, block, metropolitan areas]
  • Normalized data when geographies shift
What unit(s) of analysis is needed?
  • Understand standards and classification codes [i.e. NAICS, ICD, etc...] 
  • Aggregation and restricted use data, micro-data
What is the time frame?
  • Changing legal policies
  • Changing definitions [i.e. SIC to NAICS] bridge codes
Who collects this type of statistics?
Why do they collect this type of statistic?
  • Administrative function
  • Survey in response to legal policy
  • Polling
  • Experimental design or research
Feelings or facts?