What type of data do you need?
Consider what data units are appropriate for the the analysis you want to undertake.
What unit of coverage is required?
Do you need data at the level of individuals, institutions, or production units, or something different?
What time frame or frequency is appropriate to your analysis?
Cross sectional: data collected at the same time for several individuals.
Longitudinal/Panel: Data collected at a series of times for each of a sample of individuals.
Pooled cross sectional time series: mixture of time series and cross sectional data.
Time Series: series of measurements over time, usually at regular intervals.
Frequency:monthly, quarterly, annual, etc.
What Geographic unit address the scope of your research?
Local, national, international?
Where to Begin
Defining Your Topic
Identify key concepts for your analysis and the scope of data you need. Consider characterists like the units of measure, time frame, fequency, and geographic coverage. Search the literature in your discipline to discover data sets and analytical approaches other researchers have used.
Meet with your Subject Librarian for help in choosing databases.
Searching the Literature
Articles, books, dissertations, and other publications provide bibliographies that may help you define your topic and learn about relevant data sets.
Digital Dissertations, formerly known as Dissertation Abstracts, provides citations to dissertations and master's theses from institutions in North America fom 1861 to the present. Items from 1997 to present are accessible online in full text (PDF files).
ICPSR (Inter-Institutional Consortium for Political and Social Research) includes a database of articles related to data and links to research studies.
Databases by Subject are linked from the left side of the Merrill-Cazier Library's Electronic Resources & Database page.
Quick Sources for Data