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Research Process: Statistics

an introduction to the research process at a very basic level


Statistics give credibility to your research by providing supportive facts and figures. Therefore, statistics could be important to include in your research paper, assignments or thesis. However, statistics are not always easy to retrieve since there are no assigned sources for this type of information. Statistics can be found in scholarly journals, magazines, newspapers, reports, websites, books, databases etc.

Evaluating Statistics

The use of inaccurate statistical data can harm the credibility of your research. Therefore, it is very important to evaluate the source of your statistical data.

The below questions can help you to evaluate the consistency of statistical data.

  • Who is the author of the source that includes the statistics?

  • There is any date for these statistics? How current are the statistics? Are they appropriate to the time period that you are interested in?

  • Who is the intended audience?

  • Is the data clearly represented? in what type of publication this data is published?

  • Can the data be verified in other reliable sources?

  • Can the statistics be cross-checked? Do the used methods and data seem valid?


Journal, magazine or newspaper articles may present statistics and can help you in your research topic.

One Search tool is a good starting point since it searches all the Library’s databases in a single and simultaneous search.

To conduct your research, click on the Advanced Search tab to bring up more search options.

You may use the keywords (ratio OR statistics OR proportion OR percentage) as part of your search string.

Additional keywords to consider are prevalence, numbers, increase, decrease, data, trends, polling...

Example Below:

alt="one search tool advanced search"

Conducting your search in any search engine is a good starting point for finding statistics related to your topic. Reliable sources of statistics may be government reports, scholarly journal articles, conference proceedings and papers etc.

When retrieving statistical information from the internet, it is very crucial to evaluate the source. Please refer to the Evaluating Statistics section above and do not forget to evaluate the website as well.

Similar to a database search, in Search engines you may include the keyword statistics as part of your search string.

Additional keywords that may help you are: ratio, proportion, percentage, prevalence, numbers, increase, decrease, data, trends, polling, figures, and tables.

See Example from Google:


Google Web Search


Source: Google Web.

Below please find some sources of reliable statistical information.