Searching Statistical Databases
The Internet provides a number of online statistical databases. Some are available through the visible Web (FedStats, World Health Organization, etc.); others are only accessible through subscription based services such as RAND California.
The scholarly researcher uses online statistics to provide the necessary factual evidence to support his or her arguments. This week's lesson will provide you an opportunity to visit a variety of online statistical databases. As you can see, there are many excellent sources available:
In most instances, the statistical database is organized into a series of broad topics. By clicking on a series of links, the user can burrow down into the database to discover the information he or she needs. The statistical information may be presented in the form of a web page, a Portable Document file, or as data that can also be downloaded and imported into another program such as Excel.
Online statistical information may also be found as part of online opinion polls. Here are just a few examples:
Frequently online media sites such as CNN.com offer daily online opinion polls. While these are often used to gauge public opinion on the day's hot topic, they can also provide a source for non-academic, non-scientific entertainment. For example, visit MisterPoll and explore their poll directory.
In short, there is no lack of statistical information accessible through the Internet. As an informed researcher, it is up to you to determine which sources provide accurate, authentic, current information suitable for your needs. This is where your evaluation skills can be useful!