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Data Sources: Overview

What is Data?

Data vs. Statistics

Data are primary sources/facts from which statistics are created. Statistics are useful when you just need a few numbers to support an argument. Statistical analysis can be performed on data to show relationships among the variables collected. 

The video below presents a quick yet comprehensive overview of the 4 main data types. 

How to Search for Data

Google Search Tip

Google is an effective platform for finding research data. Simply type in your keywords, add the word "datasets," and browse the results. Examples: social networks datasets, economic datasets, education datasets, crime datasets.

Data Management Tools

The DMP Tool helps you develop a data management plan, according to the requirements of the different funders, including the NSF. 

SMU has an institutional account with the DMPTool. Choose Southern Methodist University in the Sign In dropdown menu.

link to DMPTool


The DMPonline is similar to the DMPTool, and is mostly used by researchers in the UK. 


Both tools have the same goal of improving data management practices, and facilitating the development of these data management plans.

Reference Handbook

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