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How Do I Find ~ Statistics and Data

Getting Started

If you need any assistance with data analysis, contact Dr. Ahra Wu (, Data Science Research Librarian. For student peer assistance, click "Contact Us" from the menu on the left and read more about LITS R&ID Data Science Tutors. 

Define Your Research Question
State your research question without describing the sources or data. This will help you identify a variable or variables (underlined below). 


Q1. Which characteristics of voters explain their vote choices in the 2020 presidential election

Q2. Do free trade agreements (FTAs) promote the members' bilateral international trade


Define Your Measurements
Find a specific language that best describes your concepts.  This will help you choose a data set. 


Q1, characteristics of voters:

  • education: the highest degree that the person completed
  • income: annual household income, in USD
  • race: the person's self-identified race

Q2, countries' bilateral international trade

  • Annual bilateral trade volume, including imports and exports, in USD

Identify Population, Unit of Analysis, and Unit of Observation
Who are you interested in studying? Who or what is being described by your variable(s)? What is the unit in your data set? This will also help you choose a data set. 

(Micro-level) <-----Individuals, households, cities, states/provinces, countries -----> (Macro-level)


Q1: Those who are eligible to vote in the 2020 presidential election, at the individual-level

Q2: Country dyads in the world, at the country-level

Identify Time Frame and Frequency
For what point in time do you want to know this about the people, institutions, or products you identified? How often do you want to know about them?


Q1: The data are collected in 2020 (before the election), and are not repeated over time. 

Q2: As many years as possible, repeated every year

Identify the Group Structure of Your Data
Are you looking for data collected at regular intervals over time? Identifying what sort of time series may be helpful as you search for data.

  • Cross-sectional: collected at the same point of time for several individuals
  • Longitudinal/Panel: data collected at a sequence of time points for each of a sample of individuals
  • Time Series: data collected at a sequence of time points, usually at a uniform frequency
  • Pooled cross-sectional time series: a mixture of time series data and cross-section data


Think about Your Data Analysis Methods and Tools

Don't know which data analysis method to choose? The model choice depends on your variable types and your data structure. Use this flowchart and the UCLA IDRE's guide to find the method for your analysis and its example code.  

Also, choose a data analysis tool. For example, for quantitative analyses, people often use R, SPSS, Stata, or Python. For qualitative analyses, NVivo and MAXQDA are often used. All of the programs are either freely available or offered by Hamilton College. 

We are also building Blackboard learning modules for these programs. Currently, a Stata Blackboard module is available to students. Contact Dr. Ahra Wu ( to gain access to the Stata module. 

* Adapted from Nicole Scholtz' guide to Finding Data at the University of Michigan

New Services Subscribed by Hamilton





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What content is available on Social Explorer?

  • The US Decennial Census (1790 to 2010) and the American Community Survey (2005 to 2018).
  • Specialized U.S. data resources include the House Price Index (1994 to 2018), Low Income Housing Tax Credit (1987 to 2019), the FBI Uniformed Crime Report (2010 to 2018), Religious Congregations and Membership Study (1980 to 2010), and County Health Rankings and Roadmaps Program data (2010 to 2016).
  • International data resources include the United Kingdom Census (2011), Canadian Census (2011), Eurostat (1990, 2000, 2010 to 2014), and World Development Indicators (annually since 2013).

General Data - Database

General Data - U.S.

Macro-level Data Available Online


Micro-level Data Available Online

General Data - International

Macro-level Data Available Online


Micro-level Data Available Online


Resources Available In-person

Resources for Locating Data

Evaluating Data

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