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Data Literacy

This guide will walk you through some of the tools, resources, and best practices for working & visualizing information, including data.

Where to Find Data: Tips

1st define your topic, but be flexible if needed:

  • Who or What? A population, organization, commodity, or thing you want to study
  • When? Are you looking for a one-time study or over a period of time? Or are you looking for current information?
  • Where?  Geographically speaking where are you interested?

2nd know where to look:

  • Check out data repositories/archives. These are large, more general places to find a variety of datasets. Find links below.
  • Perhaps you should be more specific, like identifying a specific organization, institution, or government agency that produces data on your topic. This will take some creative thinking, but could lead you to awesome results. Again, see links below.
  • Next stop is to look in the professional literature. Often you will find references to statistics and data in the literature. This is a clue that will lead you to the actual resource for the data.

Recorded webinar on understanding the new (2020) Census Data. Census data can be found in several of the data-finding tools linked below.

Resources for Finding Datasets

3 Ways to Use Google to Find Data:

  1. Google has a Dataset Search! Here is a video tutorial on how to use this search tool.

  2. You can search for specific file types in Google, for example CSV files for datasets. By typing into Google filetype:csv in the search bar you are "telling" Google to only search for things that have that specific file type. For example: (poverty AND ohio) filetype:xls will result in XLS (Excel) files mentioning Poverty in Ohio.

  3. Limit search results by web domain by typing into Google: site:.gov (YOUR TOPIC HERE) . This will limit datasets, files, etc. from specific websites. You could even do .org for professional organizations.