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A number of government agencies, research institutes, and universities make their data available to the public on-line. This page is designed to expose you to the available avenues for accessing on-line data for economic research and social science research more broadly.
Searching for Data on a Specific Topic
If you Google your topic with the term "statistics" or "data," Google is unlikely to produce results that offer you good data. However, within your results, you may find articles that cite original data sets from institutions like universities, research centers, government agencies, or non-partisan think tanks.
To increase your odds of finding useful citations, try searching for your topic and "statistics" or "data" using Google Scholar and Google News. In your results, take note of which institutions collect the data that interest you. Find those institutions on-line via Google and explore the data pages of their websites.
Census Bureau Data
US Census Bureau interactive data sets
American National Election Studies
To serve the research needs of social scientists, teachers, students, policy makers and journalists, the ANES produces high quality data from its own surveys on voting, public opinion, and political participation. ANES data enable researchers to better understand the theoretical and empirical foundations of national election outcomes.
United States Federal Government clearinghouse for linked, open government data.
General Social Survey
The GSS contains a standard 'core' of demographic, behavioral, and attitudinal questions, plus topics of special interest. Many of the core questions have remained unchanged since 1972 to facilitate time-trend studies as well as replication of earlier findings. The GSS takes the pulse of America, and is a unique and valuable resource. It has tracked the opinions of Americans over the last four decades.
ICPSR Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research This link opens in a new window
ICPSR maintains a data archive of more than 500,000 files of research in the social sciences. It hosts 16 specialized collections of data in education, aging, criminal justice, substance abuse, terrorism, and other fields.
Social Explorer This link opens in a new window
Social Explorer is an online research tool designed to provide quick and easy access to current and historical census data and demographic information.
Explore Data Visualization
Journalists and social commentators are increasingly using infographs and data visualization to express trends, relationships, and to make sense of the abundance of available data. Infographics are familiar visual representations and illustrations of single variables measured across time or location. Data visualizations often express more complex relationships within larger data sets. Some of the best data visualizations allow users to interact with the visualization in order to ask their own questions of the data.
The list of links below directs you to some of the best infographs and data visualizations on the web. Explore these to generate ideas for your research.