Finding data sets can be difficult. It's important to be specific about your topic so that you can narrow your search, but be flexible enough to tailor your needs to existing sources. Thinking about the following before you begin your search will help you focus your efforts.
Remember: Data is not available for every thinkable topic. Some data is hidden (behind a pay-wall for example), uncollected, or unavailable. Be prepared to try alternative data.
- What is your unit of analysis? You should be able to define who or what you want to study, the time period you want to study, and the geography or place you want to study.
- Who would produce this data? You should think about who might collect and publish this type of data. Government agencies, NGOs, university researchers, and private companies are the main types of data producers.
- Where might you find this data? Disciplinary data archives, government and NGO websites, and article and statistic references are the most common locations of data.