Getting Started with Statistics
Where do I find Statistics?
There are many sources for statistics, such as the U.S. government, non-profit research organizations, and educational institutions. The resources on this page will get you started.
- Journalist's Resource has a great article on basic statistical terminology, "Statistical Terms Used in Research Studies: a Primer for Journalists"
- Lifehacker has a useful page: Basic Errors to Avoid When Interpreting Survey Statistics.
- Robert Niles' web page titled Statistics Help for Journalists contains good basic tips for understanding and using statistics.
Pew Research Center: "Numbers, Facts & Trends Shaping Your World"
- The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press
- Project for Excellence in Journalism
- Pew Internet & American Life Project
- The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life
- Pew Hispanic Center
- Pew Global Attitudes Project
- Social & Demographic Trends
Also at the Pew Research Center
The Pew's "All Things Census" site is an ongoing collection of commentary & resources on the 2010 Census findings.
The Pew also provides data such as:
- a daily statistical number that demonstrates a recent trend, accompanied by an article with links to related information
- key indicators -- national, political, economic and demographic trends
- datasets you can download *
* NOTE: If you want to download a dataset cited by Pew and can't find a data download link on any Pew site, try searching for the same data in ICPSR (the library has a subscription to ICPSR)
SimplyMap -- Map U.S. Demographic Data
Mapping U.S. Demographic Data
SimplyMap is a powerful tool that allows users to select specific data sets and build custom demographic maps & reports for U.S. locations, down to the county, city or census tract level. (more about SimplyMap)
Notes about the use of SimplyMap:
- Our license agreement allows only five users to log on to SimplyMap at one time.
- Users who would like to save their work should “Create a Personal Workspace.”
- Reports can be downloaded into Excel spreadsheet format.
To get help using SimplyMap, try the tutorials at the top right of the SimplyMap homepage, or Ask an Alden Library staff member for help.
Statistical Information Sources
General Statistical Sources
- Statista is a search tool for data and statistics. Simply enter your topic and click search. Statista is a lot like Google, so remember to cite the source of the information you found, NOT Statista itself. See more about Statista + a demo video.
- Census Reporter is a useful tool from the Knight News Challenge, designed to "make it easier for journalists to write stories using information from the U.S. Census bureau."
Ohio Demographics & Statistics
OU Institutional Research
The Office of Institutional Research at Ohio University compiles statistics, studies & reports about OU faculty, staff, students, depts/colleges or OU itself (these would NOT be reports about individual people, but about groups, e.g., the avg. salary of all faculty in the Engineering dept)