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PREDICT_420-DL: Database Systems and Data Preparation: Data Strategies

Identifying Data Sources

Sometimes you know just where to locate data for your project.  Other times it is not as clear.  Consider:

  • Who has the need for this data?
  • Who has the resources to collect this data?
  • Who has the authority to collect this data?
  • Who is willing to share this data?

"Who" may be an individual researcher, a government agency, or a corporation.  Often if a corporation is collecting the data it is for their own business purposes and they do not share the data, or do not share the data freely. 

Searching the secondary literature of the subject area can provide citations to data resources used by researchers to address similar questions.

Searching the Secondary Literature

What follows is a selective list of subject databases that can be used to find research articles on your topic.  Skim the abstracts to see if specific datasets are mentioned that may be useful for your work.  For additional database suggestions, explore topical LibGuides provided by Northwestern University librarians.