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Business and Economics Librarian

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Jason Hall
Lemieux Library
Seattle University

2nd Floor Research Services
(206) 398-4484
Subjects: Business


Welcome to the Data & Statistics Guide

Because statistics can encompass data from a variety of social science and science fields, the scope is this guide is broad. You will find not only links for statistics from primary data sources like the Federal Reserve and U.S. Bureau of the Census, but also from agencies like the U.S. Dept of Education, U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services. 

Getting Started: Strategies for Finding Data

  • Be as specific as possible when defining your topic.
    I need annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) data for the United States, France and Germany for the last 20 years.
    What is the average SAT score by race for the last 10 years?
  • Identify key concepts and scope including unit of measure, time frame, frequency and geographic coverage. See Define unit of analysis.

Search key literature in your field. A good place to start is other student dissertations and bibliographic databases in your field.
Use articles and book bibliographies to define your topic and identify data sets used by other researchers.

  • ‚ÄčDissertations and Theses - Full Text (ProQuest) - Search citations and abstracts to more than 2 million dissertations and masters theses in all fields produced in North American colleges and universities from 1861 to the present, and from around the world since 1988.

If you need help narrowing down your topic or identifying bibliographic database try browsing Online Databases by Category or set up a consultation with your Subject Specialist Librarian

Geographic Unit

  • Local: city agencies
  • National: federal agencies, research centers
  • International: international organizations

Note: Not all data is available at the geographic level you need. Some data is only available at the state or county level.


  • Annual
  • Quarterly
  • Monthly
  • Daily

Note: Some frequencies may need to be calculated.

Unit of Analysis

  • Individual Level
  • Institutional Level: company, health facility, school
  • Production Level: automobiles, commodities

Time Series

  • 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: mixture of time series data and cross-section data

Ask the question: What organization or agency would likely collect this data?

  • Government Agencies: Government Agencies collect data at all levels to aid policy decisions. It is generally distributed free via the internet.

  • Organizations: Many national and international organizations such as the United Nations, OECD, World Health Organization, National Health Institute, American Heart Association, and World Bank compile and distribute data both free and fee based.

  • Commercial Subscription Services: Seattle University purchases major data sets for use across disciplines. Larger data sets are generally available in SPSS, Excel, SAS or Stata formats.

Government Agencies: Local & National Sources


Commercial Data Vendors:

  • Global Market Information Database (GMID): The GMID contains information on key business intelligence on countries, companies, markets and consumers for over 350 markets and 207 countries. In addition to demographic and economic statistics, the GMID also includes statistical and full-text analysis on consumer lifestyles, retailing, countries, consumer market sizes and forecasts, market analysis reports, company profiles and information sources. The historic and forecast data enable you analyze trends from 1977-2016.

  • ProQuest Statistical Insight Complete Collection: Index to local, national and international intergovernmental statistical publications from 1983 to the present. Includes citation information with large number of pdf or spreadsheet downloads available.

  • SimplyAnalytics: Mapping application that enables users to create thematic maps and reports using thousands of demographic, marketing, and business data variables. Includes data from the U.S. Census, Mediamark, Simmons, and Dun & Bradstreet.

  • Statista: Statista provides statistical data on topics including media, business, politics, society, technology and education. Sources include market reports, trade publications, scientific journals, and government databases. Charts can be downloaded in PNG, PowerPoint, Excel or PDF formats or embedded in web pages and can be great in papers or presentations.

  • What is the quality of the data?

  • Who created the data and what are their credentials?

  • Is the data clearly represented?

  • Who is the intended audience for the data?

  • Is the data accurate? Can it be replicated? Any bias?