Skip to main content

How to Find

What are statistics?

Statistics is the practice that deals with the collection, organisation, analysis and interpretation of numerical data. General conclusions about a set of data are then able to be drawn from a sample of the data.

Image: Analytics business chart by Tumisu Pixabay

Why use statistics?

Statistics enable us to use a limited sample to make accurate conclusions about a greater population. Statistics provide important information that informs research and decision making in our society. The data used to draw these conclusions is usually presented in the form of tables, graphs or charts. As part of your studies you may need to find, access and use statistical data.

Tips for searching statistics

  • When searching for statistics in the databases add the term statistics or surveys to your keywords: Topic AND statistics OR surveys
    If you are interested in a given topic for a particular country, your search terms would be: Topic AND statistics OR surveys AND country
  • Government websites are good sources for statistics. These statistics can be searched as: Topic statistics site:gov
    You can narrow the search to a country of choice by including the government domain extension for that country using:
    Topic statistics site:gov.au (for Australia) OR Topic statistics site:gov.uk (for for the United Kingdom)
  • Consulting the websites of international organisations e.g. OECD is very useful when you have to compare conditions in different countries.
  • If you find a relevant item, look at the government or organisations in the author field, or terms in the topics field to use in new searches
  • Be aware that it takes time to collect and publish statistics, so you may not find statistics available for every year.

Where can I find statistics?

Websites of relevant organisations

Most statistics are published by national or state government agencies. 

 In Australia, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is the largest publisher of government statistics.

The Census of Population and Housing is conducted every 5 years by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The Census provides data on the age and sex structure of the population, birthplace, religion, educational attainment, marital status, family type, income distribution, the labour force, type and size of dwellings, price/rental of dwellings and nature of occupancy.

Other Australian government bodies that collect and publish statistics include: the Reserve Bank of AustraliaWorkSafe, and the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare (AIHW).

International organisations such as the United Nations (UN), regularly publish statistics on a number of topics such as health and economics for most countries of the world. Many countries contribute their statistics to international organisations like the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Professional organisations  and special interest groups and researchers may also collect statistics.

Not all the information you find on the Internet is accurate, up-to-date and reliable so you should carefully evaluate any resources from the web.


Library Catalogue

There are statistical publications held by the library which can be searched through the Catalogue.

Choose your keywords and add the word statistics and the state or country you are interested in. 

 

 

 


Databases

To find journal articles containing statistics on a topic, search a relevant database.

In ProQuest you could search as follows: