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Social Work & Human Services: Data/Statistics

About Statistics

Statistics are useful in many ways; in addition to enhancing one's understanding of a subject, they can provide persuasive evidence for a point of view. You can find statistics on just about any topic, but it helps to first ask yourself some key questions about the data you're seeking:

  • What group or organization would be producing such statistics?
  • Why would they need the data, and how would they acquire it?
  • Would they have the means and incentive to publish it?
  • Would they be required to report to information to a government agency (which one)?

In other words, It's helpful to consider where you might reasonably expect to find the data - this can save you hours of fruitless searching.

Improving Your Googling

To avoid searching through endless unreliable websites, improve your google searches from the start.

Use these as part of your search:

  • site:.edu (to search only U.S. universities), e.g. "teenage pregnancy" statistics site:.edu
  • site:.ac.uk (to search only UK Universities), e.g childhood poverty statistics site:.ac.uk
  • site:.gov (to search the US gov website.)
  • site:.gc.ca (to search the Canadian gov website.)
  • site:.org (to search organizations)
  •  

    Also include words like disseration, thesis, or pdf to bring up more reliable documents. One final point, if you are searching a phrase, use quotation marks e.g., "social policy" "partner abuse"

    Try "social policy" pdf site:.gc.ca

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