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WR 13100 (13) — Writing and Rhetoric (Duffy)

Using Statistics

Charts, graphs, statistics, and other visuals strengthen and support arguments in your research paper in the following ways:

  • By presenting data simply and clearly
  • By presenting numerical relationships visually
  • By capturing your reader’s attention 
Below are some good sources for locating statistics.

Public Opinion

Gallup Brain
Searchable database of Gallup Poll questions and responses back to 1935, plus Gallup Poll and Gallup Management Journal articles released prior to Oct.22, 2007

Polling Report
Survey of trends affecting elections, government, and business. Includes Gallup, Harris, Yankelovich, Princeton Survey Research Associates, network news polls, and more. Main categories are Politics and Policy; Business / Economy; American Scene; Insights; and National Barometer; with an extensive table of contents. Searchable.

Polling the Nation
More than 12,000 national, state, local and special surveys, conducted by 700 polling organizations in the United States and 70 other countries from 1986 through the present. Usage info: Licensed for 4 simultaneous users.

Finding facts and figures about social issues

Pew Social & Demographic Trends
The Pew Research Center’s Social & Demographic Trends project studies behaviors and attitudes of Americans in key realms of their lives, including family, community, health, finance, work and leisure. The project explores these topics by combining original public opinion survey research with social, economic and demographic data analysis.

Child Trends Databank.  
National trends and research on over 80 key indicators of child and youth well-being.

NCES: National Center for Education Statistics
Data related to education in the U.S. and other nations. Includes Digest of Educational Statistics.

NCHS: National Center for Health Statistics
Monitoring the nation's health; includes Health United States, showing national trends in health and health care.

National Institute of Mental Health - Statistics  nderstanding the scope of mental health problems and treatment in the United States.

Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics.
Brings together data from more than 100 sources about many aspects of criminal justice in the United States.

Key Sources for Finding Statistics

Image Credit: Creative Commons

American Fact Finder

American Fact Finder provides useful facts and information about your community, your economy, and your society. The system will find and retrieve the information you need from some of the Census Bureau's largest data sets

Proquest Statistical Abstracts

Authoritative and comprehensive summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic conditions of the United States.

 ProQuest Statistical Insight 

Tables selected from hundreds of government and business reports, from 1999 to the present. 

Polling the Nations 

Polling the Nations is an online database of public opinion polls containing the full text of 500,000 questions and responses from 14,000+ surveys conducted from 1986 through the present in the United States and more than 100 other countries around the world.

Social Explorer 

Social Explorer provides easy access to demographic information about the United States, from 1790 to present.


Provides access to statistics and studies gathered by market researchers, trade organizations, scientific publications, and government sources on over 600 industries


For a more comprehensive list of sources for finding finding statistics, including sources for international statistics, see the following Data & Statistics Guide.