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STS 2500: Finding and Evaluating Data

Data Literacy workshop for STS 2500

Welcome STS 2500!

This guide will help you discover and evaluate sources. 

The presentation slides are available.  The slides cover the general concepts about finding and evaluating data.  (Be sure to view the Speaker Notes.)  This research guide points to specific resources available through the library or publicly.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out!

Activity: Compare Sources

Our first activity is comparing two sources of data: ICPSR and Kaggle.

Academic Literaure

Every empirical academic paper is going to have a methods section.  Look for articles similar to a topic you are interested in, and check the methods section.  What data are they using?

Here is a real-life example. A group of students asked Jenn about Major League Baseball injuries, and she found this: Injury Rates in Major League Baseball During the 2020 COVID-19 Season.  The very first line of the Methods section states, “Data from the 2018-2020 MLB transaction reports were extracted online at”

Library Licensed Datasets

These are data sources available to you through UVA Library.  They cover a broad range of topics.

Government Data

Data from News Sources

Also see News sources’ GitHub repos: NYTimes, Washington Post, BuzzFeed News, etc.

Remember to Iterate

Start in one place and keep iterating.  Use the first place to see if sources are cited, and work from there.

Statista is a great place to try this strategy.  Statista only offers basic statistics (tables and charts, not full datasets).  However, they always cite their sources.  Keep digging at the source to see if you can find an original dataset.  You can use the same strategy with PolicyMap as well.