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When designing an intervention, it's essential that you understand the population that it is intended for. This may mean understanding the poverty rates for a state, county or town, the prevalence of certain health conditions within a community, etc.
The Library offers two statistical databases (see below), but much of this information can also be found through government and organization websites. A sampling of sites are listed below, but you can also explore on your own. Just be sure that you only use sites that you can trust!
(Don't forget that the Library databases link to articles that might be directly related to your populations!)
Statista This link opens in a new window
The Statista database is a portal to statistical information, pulling together data on over 80.000 topics from over 18.000 sources onto a single platform. Reporting is somewhat limited but there are sociological/criminal justice statistics available by navigating from the top menu's Industries section and selecting Society.
Statistical Abstract of the United States This link opens in a new window
The Statistical Abstract of the United States is the most authoritative and comprehensive summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States. Every table in the Statistical Abstract provides citations to more extensive and detailed sources of data for its subject, which also makes it an efficient guide to data sources.
U.S. Statistical Resources
U.S. Census Bureau
Provides reports and actual data from the U.S. census, as well as the results of various other statistical reports. Data is probably best suited for finding demographic information about a city/town, although related reports may provide additional information.
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI): Uniform Crime Reports
Similar to the NJ reports, you will find detailed information about crime in the United States, back to the mid-1990’s.
Bureau of Justice Statistics
Contains a number of reports regarding the justice system in the United States, including information about prisons, gangs, etc. Data will likely not drill down to the city level, but some state-related information is likely.
Federal Sentencing Statistics
Compiled by the United States Sentencing Commission, reports provide an annual breakdown of federal sentencing statistics in comparison to state and district courts.
National Center for Education Statistics: Data Tools: State/District Profiles
Tools provide state and school district profiles as well as the ability to conduct comparisons. Also has a great mapping tool by school district.
National Center for Health Statistics
The mission of the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) is to provide statistical information that will guide actions and policies to improve the health of the American people. As the Nation's principal health statistics agency, NCHS leads the way with accurate, relevant, and timely data.
Bureau of Labor Statistics (U.S. Department of Labor)
The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor is the principal Federal agency responsible for measuring labor market activity, working conditions, and price changes in the economy. Its mission is to collect, analyze, and disseminate essential economic information to support public and private decision-making. As an independent statistical agency, BLS serves its diverse user communities by providing products and services that are objective, timely, accurate, and relevant.
NJ Statistical Sources
Crime Reports & Statistics
Provides links to a variety of statistical reports on crime in NJ. Reports include: Uniform Crime Reports, Domestic Violence Reports, Carjack Offense Reports, Bias Incident Reports, and Crime Index Trends.
New Jersey Department of Education: DOE Data
Provides information on a variety of educational statistics throughout NJ, often providing county, district and/or municipal data. Links include information about enrollment, graduates, dropouts, staffing, state Aid, as well as a number of major reports.
Provides access to NJ state and county communicable disease statistics.
County Health Rankings
Provides access to 50 state reports which rank counties by health outcomes and health factors.
Looking for statistics and reports can be difficult, but Google offers some features that make the process of finding authoritative sources easier.
- Use Google's Advanced Search to have better control over your searches.
The "Search within this domain" option lets you limit to just government pages, by typing .gov into the box.
Combine this with the keyword 'statistics' and your topic keyword(s) (healthcare, crime, gender inequality, etc.) to find related statistical data and government reports.
Whenever you use a website or other online resource in your research, it's important that you think critically about the source of information, as well as its credibility.
Think about the following criteria when considering a website for your research:
(who created/hosted/edits the site, and what are their credentials?)
(are there errors/omissions/mistakes/lies?)
(what is the purpose of the site (Sell/Persuade/Fool/Inform/etc.)?)
(How recent is the research, and does it matter to your topic?)
(To what depth is the information covered, and is there anything new that you haven't already found elsewhere?)
If you feel that there is any doubt about the quality of the information you find, always look to an authoritative source for confirmation.