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HES 210 Research Guide

This guide will assist students enrolled in HES210 to explore and research health topics

Finding Statistics

Statistics are collected by a multitude of government agencies, organizations, associations and academic institutions and they are published in a wide variety of places both online and in print. There is no 'one stop shop' for locating statistics so the best strategy to use when collecting data and statistics is to first identify the major government agencies, organizations and associations related to the topic you are researching. Some data you simply won't be able to find as it is either not publicly available or they may require a fee for access. On this page you will find recommended sources you can search to gather statistical research.  

General Health Statistical Sources on the Web

There are thousands of agencies and organizations that collect and distribute statistics. You will need to identify which agencies and organizations are related to your topic by doing some savvy Google searching. (look under the Finding Open Web Sources tab of this guide for tips). Here are a few general organizations and government agencies that collect statistics regarding health topics: 

CDC FastStats - The Centers for Disease Control is the nation's major health protection agency. This FastStats page provides easy access to statistics on topics of public health and is organized alphabetically.

HealthData.gov - An extensive resource of health related statistics collected by various government agencies from the national to select state level. 

National Center for Health Statistics - The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) hosted site that provide statistics and data on America's health.

International Statistical Agencies - An extensive list of international statistical agencies sorted by country and compiled by the U. S. Census Bureau.

World Health Organization (WHO) - This international agency has a primary goal of combating disease and building a healthy future for people all over the world. They have offices in 150 countries and work with government agencies and organizations researching and promoting the health and safety of people including clean air, clean water, access to food and the vaccines and medical intervention necessary to achieve their goals. Access extensive statistics and data through their Global Health Observatory (GHO) data via the data tab on their webpage. 

United Nations Statistics Division - the UN Statistics Division compiles and disseminates global statistical information on international trade, national accounts, energy, industry, environment and demographic and social statistics gathered from national and international sources. Search individual databases or the entire data set.

Health United States, 2015 - Created and maintained by the CDC, contains a wealth of health statistics including mortality, morbidity, health risk factors, health insurance and much more!

Searching Library Databases for Statistics

Statistics are included in journal, magazine and news articles and reports you find in library databases. They may appear as complex charts and graphs or they are referenced or quoted in the text. You can focus your search within any database by either including specific terms in your search strategy or by taking advantage of the search tools within the database. 

Opposing Viewpoints in Context - many viewpoint essays will include statistical information. However, you can specifically narrow your search to retrieve statistics by using the following tools within Opposing Viewpoints:

  • Choose Advanced next to the search box
  • Under Document Type, select Statistical data and Statistical table 
  • Enter your search terms in the search boxes at the top of the page

CQ Researcher - reports available through CQ Researcher look holistically at current, hot topics. Within each report you will find a variety of statistics and data. They will either appear within the text of the report but you are likely to find graphics and charts representing data as well. Scan reports carefully for this data. Tip: there is an extensive bibliography at the end of each CQ Researcher report including books, articles, contacts, further steps and footnotes all of which will lead you to further research and data!

Credo Reference - Credo Reference provides full-text access to over 800 reference books (over 50 of these books are specific to health topics). You will find statistics within many of the entries you retrieve when you do a basic search on your topic. However, if you add the word statistics (ex. infant mortality and statistics) to your search strategy, you will retrieve pertinent statistical information.

Additional search tips for retrieving statistics in any library database:

Within your search strategy, include the word statistics. For example:

Obesity and statistics 

This strategy tells the database to retrieve articles not only on the topic of obesity but articles that specifically contain or reference statistics.

Print Sources for Statistics

The MCC Library reference collection is a great place to browse for statistical information. The reference collection is located on the second floor of the library and contains a small selection of encyclopedias, handbooks, dictionaries, manuals, almanacs and more! You can either browse the reference collection when you visit the library or search the library catalog for holdings.

Here are a few general reference titles that contain basic statistics:

Statistical Abstract of the United States REF HA 202 A33 2018

Contains statistics on the US by state regarding population, education, health and nutrition, income, energy and utilities, transportation, government, etc.

World Factbook REF G 122 U56A 2016-17 (also accessible online at https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/resources/the-world-factbook/)

The World Factbook is the source for general statistics and data by country including people, econonomy, government, geography, communication, transnational issues, and more.