# The Numbers Game: The Top 10 Sources for Statistics

By Berinstein, Paula | Online, March/April 1998 | Go to article overview

# The Numbers Game: The Top 10 Sources for Statistics

Berinstein, Paula, Online

Just ten sources will answer a large proportion of statistical questions. Most are available free or at low cost on the Web.

Ugh, there's that word: statistics. Makes you shudder, doesn't it? The very thought causes eyes to glaze over, terror to strike the heart, and an "Oh, no" feeling to settle over your entire body.

There's good reason for hyperventilation. Statistics are among the hardest kinds of information to find. The expectations of our clients and patrons compound the problem; why should anything so "simple" and "readily available" take more than three minutes to locate? But we know that numbers-seekers face the following problems:

In order for statistics to exist, someone has to gather them. This implies a reason to do so, as well as manpower. No reason or resources, no statistics.

Statistics are often buried within articles, reports, books, and transcripts, with no indexing or guide that points to them. Even if you find figures on your subject, much of the time they're not "cut" the way you want to see them (what you want counted isn't counted). And there are so many sources from which to choose that only researchers who deal with statistics on a regular basis can know who generates them and where to look.

However, there's hope. I've found that just ten sources will answer a large proportion of statistical questions. (See the Top Ten sidebar.) Most are available free or at low cost on the Web.

STATISTICS SEARCH TIPS

But first, here are five important statistical search tips. Later, I'll profile each Top Ten source and explain how the tips apply to it.

Search Tip 1: Favor sources consisting primarily of statistics, like almanacs, statistical compendia, and numeric databases. Whenever you're looking for a particular type of informationnumbers, images, contact informationyou'll have an easier time if you don't have to sort out the type in question from other material. Most of the sources in the Top Ten consist primarily of statistics.

Search Tip 2: At Web sites, look for links to areas named Statistics; Publications, Reports, or Bulletins; Library or Archive(s); Data or Databases; and Press Releases.

Not all Webmasters are as savvy about how people seek information as ONLINE readers are. Because there's no standardization at Web sites, statistics may be well hidden. I've found the preceding terms and types of material to be the most productive. Search Tip 3: In full text, look for statistics-indicating word patterns, such as:

"According to a study/survey/report..."

"A study released by XYZ says/has found/finds that..."

"71 percent of Americans polled by Gallup...

Any time you search full text, you'll benefit from knowing the structure of the language and the way information is reported. Statistical information follows common and often predictable patterns.

Search Tip 4: Look for data placed outside the text as figures, tables, charts, graphs, infoboxes, and captions. Often this material is not searchable, but on some systems it is. For example:

On DIALOG, you can use the special feature field (s F=), which may contain a table, chart, or graph.

On LEXIS-NEXIS, the TABLEINFO segment can be used with market research reports.

On ProQuest Direct, you can search captions.

At searchable Web sites, you can use keywords like c ha r t or g ra ph . Search Tip 5: Use numbers-indicatin index terms. such as Statistics, Market share, Numeric, Demographics, Industry overview, and Forecasts.

Each database employs different terminology, so be sure to check the documentation for the one you're using.

THE TOP TEN

As you might expect, the top ten statistical sources are heavy on government publishers. That's because the U.S. government collects a wide range of statistics to support public policy decision-making, planning, and resource allocation. …

If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.
Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.
Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

Project items include:
• Saved book/article
• Highlights
• Quotes/citations
• Notes
• Bookmarks
Notes

#### Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

#### Cited article

The Numbers Game: The Top 10 Sources for Statistics
Settings

#### Settings

Typeface
Text size Reset View mode
Search within

Look up

#### Look up a word

• Dictionary
• Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

### How to highlight and cite specific passages

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

## Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

## New feature

It is estimated that 1 in 10 people have dyslexia, and in an effort to make Questia easier to use for those people, we have added a new choice of font to the Reader. That font is called OpenDyslexic, and has been designed to help with some of the symptoms of dyslexia. For more information on this font, please visit OpenDyslexic.org.

To use OpenDyslexic, choose it from the Typeface list in Font settings.

## Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.