Finding and using data in your research paper

| April 16, 2013

This month, Harper’s Index included some grim education statistics that got me thinking:

Minimum number of exams a student must take between third and twelfth grade under No Child Left Behind : 17

Percentage change since 1976 in the test-score gap between the children of America’s richest and poorest deciles : +40

Amount Florida spent per student on testing in 1996 : $4.44

Last year : $30.59

Percentage change since 1980 in California’s spending on public universities : –13

On prisons : +436

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Harper’s has a variety of sources for their material, which they post at the bottom of the index in the online version that is linked above.  It got me thinking about original data, and where one might find statistics to incorporate into their own research papers or dissertations.  Places to find statistics are abundant, and include:

Another very extensive and multidisciplinary resource for original research is the Pew Research Center, who collect and publish data in many different sectors, including media studies, US politics, religion, technology, social trends, and global issues. If you specifically want to research a topic, such as education, you can do this by clicking the topics link on the homepage. From here, scroll down to the E section and choose education. They publish a number of reports you might find useful to your studies. Happy searching!