Skip to main content

Ohio University Libraries

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.

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.