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Research Guides

Eastern Washington University Libraries

Technical Communication 404: Instructions & Procedures

Population/Demographic Resources

When creating your user profiles, it would help to research EWU students, so that the profiles better represent large groups of students. How old are most EWU students? What is their background? What are they majoring in?

  • Some institutions do collect and share demographic data, such as EWU and our students. 
  • Federal, state and local government agencies collect and share demographic data down to the city level, so you can find out about Spokane City or Spokane County. 


Local & Regional

Thought Process for Finding Statistics

There are a few different approaches to finding statistics.

Google & Be Picky About the Source

When using Google, the trick is knowing whether the source is trustworthy. If it sounds promising, but you are not familiar with the website, google the organization responsible for the website. There ought to be at least a Wikipedia entry about them.

Once you have determined that the website is credible, look carefully at where the statistic came from: the same organization you just googled? A government agency? Another organization you need to google to determine credibility?

Once you have determined that the source of the statistic is credible, but the statistic isn't exactly what you were looking for, you could go directly to the website of that source and explore there to see if you can find something closer to what you're looking for.

Example from Class

For data about faculty, we saw articles from a few news sources for higher education: Inside Higher Ed (free if you create an account) and Chronicle of Higher Education. Both of these are very good at having articles summarizing major studies relevant to higher education. They even do their own studies. 

To see the full article in the Chronicle of Higher Education if it's behind a paywall, copy/paste the title and the author into the EWU Library Catalog. We have the full text in our databases, as long as it is older than 6 months.

Search for a Study in Articles

No luck via Google? Try looking for articles on the topic. Some scholarly journal articles may have done detailed studies on the issue and generated statistics. Or a news article may mention a juicy statistic to jazz up the article. See the tab Find Articles & Books for database suggestions.

Again, note the source -- you may have to dig into the references if it's a scholarly source, or look for who was credited in the news article.

"From the Horses Mouth" - Look for Statistics from a Particular Government Agency or Organization

  • The most authoritative and freely available statistics come from government agencies, which are usually obligated to collect and disseminate statistics.
  • Nonprofit organizations may have statistics they are willing to share openly on issues they are advocating. Delve into their website. Definitely look for key terms like Reports or Data. At the least, there ought to be an Annual Report.

I'm Pretty Sure Some Government Agency Has What I'm Looking For

Try keyword searching the databases below. If you find what you are looking for, or at least are fairly close, look at the source information at the bottom of the table. This will tell you the name of the government agency or organization that cares about that data. Google that name and delve into the website.