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Locating Statistical Resources

This guide demonstrates how to locate statistical sources through the library.

What are statistics?

There are several definitions for the term statistics, depending on who you ask.  Below are some of the most common definitions:

  • "...the technology of extracting meaning from data" (Hand, 2008, p. 2) or "...the key discipline for predicting the future and making inferences about the unknown..." (Hand, 2008, p. 3).
  • "A value that has been produced from a data collection, such as a summary measure, an estimate or projection" (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2021).
  • "The science of collecting, analyzing, presenting, and interpreting data" (Sweeney et al., 2020).

Regardless of definition, statistics are a critical element of the quantitative research process.  Knowing where to locate statistics can be tricky because not all sources contain statistical data.

What are statistical resources?

Statistical resources are print and electronic items that contain statistical information and data about a particular subject.  They typically take the form of numbers, data sets, graphs, and/or charts.  They can also be found on several platforms, but are often stored in electronic databases, printed books, business reports, and/or government documents.  Common places to search for statistics also include government websites, publicly accessible statistics websites, and local printed publications.  The proceeding pages demonstrate how to locate statistics via different parts of the library.

You can use statistics and statistical resources in many contexts, including the research process.  To learn more about using statistics in the research process, view the quantitative methods section of our Research Methodologies guide.