Saturday, July 1, 2006

Find Statistical Information

Have you ever needed to find what you thought would be an easy fact or statistic such as the current population of any country, state or city, how the number and size of pharmaceutical companies has changed over the last decade, or the annual funds spent by your government on education or the military? If so, you may have found out that such data isn't as easy to locate as it first seemed. Don't fret! By using some select search strategies and specific resources you'll have pinpoint access to literally tons of data and statistics covering a wide range of subjects.

Subscription databases (to access, click on the "All Research Databases" link on the library home page):
  • ProQuest: On the default search interface, click the "More Search Options" link and then use the Document Type field to limit the search to "Statistics."
  • Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center - the search contains a "content type" limit option for statistics.
  • ebrary eBook Collection: use the Advanced search option and combine your keywords with the subject "statistics."
  • EBSCO: use ERIC for education statistics, MEDLINE for health stats, PsycARTICLES for the behavioral sciences, SocINDEX Full Text for the social sciences more generally, Business Source Premier for business, management and economic data and Academic Search Premier for just about any topic. Other possibilities include the Gender Studies Database, and the Military and Government Collection.
  • ABC-CLIO: try the America History and Life and Historical Abstracts databases for help locating historical stats.
  • In general: if there isn't a specific mechanism to limit a search to statistical data, try combining your keyword(s) with the term "statistics." E.g., "endangered species" and statistics
Web Resources:
  • American FactFinder - complete access to population, housing, economic, and geographic data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • FedStats - search or browse the vast array of stats produced by our federal government.
  • InfoNation (U.N.) - compare and contrast population, health, economic, environment or technology statistics for up to 6 countries.
  • OffStats: Official Statistics on the Web - compare and contract country data on an extensive list of subjects from armaments, children or climate, through religion, taxation or wages.
  • Statistical Resources on the Web - annotated directory of factual resources, compiled by librarians at the University of Michigan.

Use Synonyms to Expand your Keyword List

When you're searching a library resource, an internet search engine, or even a book index, it's smart to consider additional or alternative search terms in addition to the ones you've selected. This will help you get more accurate results and expand your search if needed. By locating and using synonyms for your key search terms, you may retrieve results that address your topic that you wouldn't have encountered otherwise. For example, a search for:

children AND drugs

in a library research database may retrieve several relevant articles. However, an author or indexer may have chosen different words for those terms and until you consider synonyms you may not find other valuable material. For example, in addition to "children," you might consider "adolescent," "youth," "infant," "teenager," etc. depending on your research scope. Expand "drugs" to either include names of specific drugs, like "cocaine," or if you are referring to medicinal drugs, consider "pharmaceuticals" or "medicine." Not only will this expand your search to include additional results but may contribute to your research in ways that you hadn't originally expected, such as additional related topics, key people, or studies that you hadn't been aware of.

You can find synonyms using either a print thesaurus, if you have one handy, or try one of these online versions:
You might also try looking at the text and assigned subject terms of an article you have already found - different authors often use different terminology to describe similar things.

Gender Studies Database

As part of our EBSCO suite of research databases, the Gender Studies Database combines the popular Women's Studies International and Men's Studies databases with the coverage of sexual diversity issues. It includes journal articles, conference papers, books and book chapters, government reports, dissertations, discussion and working papers, theses and dissertations and other sources. This database includes almost 700,000 records with coverage from 1972 to the present.

The searches can be limited by full text, publication date, and publication title, among other options. Results can be sorted by date, author, publication or relevance and to the left of each results page is a list of subject terms related to your search that can be used to expand or narrow your search as needed.

Gender Studies Database results pageThe Gender Studies database can be accessed by going to the library home page ( and clicking on the "All Research Databases" link in the upper left. Gender Studies is listed within the EBSCO databases.

ebrary eBook Collection

Did you know that you can access a library of 30,000 full-text electronic books from your computer? Check out ebrary, an on-line database of books, reports, and maps. To access, use the direct link here or go to the library home page and click on the "ebrary" link under the Books section. Use your MyESC login and password to search and browse through the collection, which covers all the major disciplines such as history, science, technology, business, fine arts, literature, the social and behavioral sciences and education.

Ebrary's Simple (default) Search:

ebrary search optionsDownload the free ebrary reader to view or search through the full-text of any book in the collection. If you choose to create a personalized ebrary bookshelf you can save books you'd like to return to later. ebrary's reader even allows you to take electronic notes on, highlight words and phrases, and bookmark pages. Any notations you make will be saved into your personal bookshelf. You might be surprised to find that a wide variety of information is available in ebrary -- anything from a map of Moscow, and Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Bill Clinton's My Life and the Network Security Bible and Research Methods on the Social Sciences.

Sample ebrary results page:ebrary results page

New EBSCO Resources

The library has added several new research databases to its EBSCO resources:
  • Academic Search Premier - a massive multidisciplinary resource with full-text for more than 4,600 journals, including 3,600 peer-reviewed titles.
  • Business Source Premier - comprehensive business resource that includes 9,200+ full-text journals
  • CINAHL Plus w/Full-text, CINAHL Select - nursing and allied health articles
  • ERIC - 2,200+ digests and citations and abstracts from 1,000+ education-related journals and literature
  • MEDLINE - premier medical and health bibliographic information source
  • Military and Government Collection - current news pertaining to all branches of the military and government
  • Regional Business News - coverage of 75 U.S. business journals, newspapers and newswires from a variety of metro and rural areas
Read more about these new resources in Library News or access them directly from the complete list of library databases at