Searching for Data

Considerations for finding research data

For some research topics, there may be existing data to use in your project. When searching for research data, keep these points in mind:

  • Finding data takes time and effort. Assembling a dataset may also require working with multiple sources, with data in different file formats and structures. Allow yourself time to search multiple sources, to clean data so that they are usable, and to request assistance with locating and acquiring specialized datasets and/or cleaning them.
  • Data quality may vary. Some data sources provide files "as is" with minimal documentation about the data. An established data archive, such as the ICPSR, is more likely to include complete information with datasets (e.g. data dictionaries or codebooks).
  • Accessing specialized data may cost money, either as a subscription or a one-time fee. The library considers requests to purchase research datasets for the Emory community.

Learn more about resources at Emory to help you locate data for use in your research.