ENGL 127 Research Writing: Social Sciences (Schaefer)

This research guide is for students in Amanda Schaefer's English 127: Focus on Family & Home

Find "Buried" Statistics

Search Strategies for Finding Statistics

Try the search strategies outlined below when you are looking for articles from library databases.

Note: This is only one search strategy and will not help you find all statistics on a topic - that is, sometimes statistics are buried within other articles that are not found using the search term"statistics"

Search tips

In ProQuest databases, try the advanced search tips as outlined below and in the image:

  • Choose "Advanced search" so you are given multiple search boxes to use
  • Enter your search terms, basic keywords, into the first box
  • In the second box, add the word "Statistics" and then, using the drop-down menu at the end of the search box, select "All Subjects and Indexing - SU" This ensures that "statistics" are a major subject in the results
  • Be sure to limit to "Full text" results and then carry out the search

(click on image to enlarge)

image shows a screenshot of a Proquest search page, showing how to enter your search terms as outlined in the text in this box.

Charts, graphs, and diagrams

Statistics are often found inside books and articles, namely, in the graphs, charts, and diagrams within them. 

The image of the graph below is from a CQ Research report and is but one example of how you can locate find statistical information in larger information sources. 

(click on image to enlarge)

image shows an chart with stats that was pulled from the article

Image Source: Mantel, B. (2010, April 2). Breast cancer. CQ Researcher,  20, 289-312. Retrieved from http://library.cqpress.com

Articles or Books
  • As you research, take the time to skim through your findings to uncover these "buried  treasures"

  • Follow leads in the article to find other statistics (see example below):

(click on image to enlarge)

this is an image of a web article that shows a part of the text highlighted - in the text you can see statistics embedded.

Information Plus Series for Statistics

Using Information Plus to Find Statistics

The Information Plus Reference Series is a set of print and electronic books that are full of detailed information on a variety of topics. You can access articles in the electronic version of these books by going to the Gale Virtual Reference Library database (also called Gale Ebooks) and limiting your search by publication title, shown in the images below.  Use the links below to access the source, and use the tabs in this box to see more tips and tricks about how to search.

What can you find in articles from Information Plus?

The Information Plus Reference Series provides detailed information, including statistics, on a variety of topics.

cover of one Information Plus series print books

  • Abortion
  • Capital Punishment
  • Education
  • The Environment
  • Growing Old in America
  • Sports in America
  • Women in American Society
  • Careers and Occupations
  • Death and Dying
  • Endangered Species
  • Health and Wellness
  • Minorities
  • Space Exploration
  • Weight in America
  • World Poverty
  • The American Economy
  • Child Abuse and Domestic Violence
  • Electronic America
  • Energy
  • Gambling
  • Gun Control
  • The Health Care System
  • National Security
  • Alcohol, Tobacco, and Illicit Drugs
  • Animal Rights
  • Crime, Prisons, and Jails
  • Genetics and Genetic Engineering
  • Growing Up
  • Immigration and Illegal Aliens
  • Social Welfare
  • Water

Limiting to the Information Plus series in Gale Ebooks

The images below show you how you can search in the Gale Ebooks (formerly Gale Virtual Reference Library) database to limit to the publication series "Information Plus."

  • After opening the database, choose the option for "Advanced Search" so you are given the multiple search boxes
  • In the first box, you can search by keyword or by a larger topic
  • In the second box, you can put in the name of the series "information plus" and then, in the drop down option at the end of the search box, you can limit that to "publication title" to see results from just that publication.

(click on image to enlarge)

images shows how to use the advanced search to limit to publication title, searching for Information Plus series, and a keyword

  • The image below shows just one example of the kind of statistics you can find within the articles that come from the Information Plus Reference Series. 

(click on image to enlarge)

image shows a graph and a chart with statistics that were pulled from the information plus series

Where can I find statistics?

Strategies for Finding Statistics

  1.  Many statistics are gathered by government agencies (for example, the U.S. Department of Energy) or large organizations (for example, The American Cancer Society) Explore websites that gather statistical information
  2. You can also find good statistics within books or journal, magazine or newspaper articles. 
  3. When you find statistics, check the source of the data and the date of the data.  In other words, does the book, article or website list where the statistics came from?  Do they come from a reputable or well-known source? Are they current enough- or as current as possible (for example, the US census is conducted once per decade). If not, attempt to find statistics from a more reliable source.

Find Statistics on the Web

Sample Stats on the Web by Subject

Statistics by Topic Area

Consider the links, organized by topic, below.

Additional Resources

For more help locating statistics, see the Statistics Research Guide (link below)

For more on Statistics

Use our statistics guide for links to statistical sources, many of which are on the web.