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How to Find: Statistics

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.


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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 to lend credibility to your research and support your ideas or position.


Tips for searching for statistics


  • To search for statistics in the databases, add the term statistics or surveys to your search: Topic keyword AND statistics OR surveys
  • If you are looking for statistics on a topic for a particular country, add the name of the country as part of your search: Topic keyword AND statistics OR surveys AND country
  • To search government websites for statistics: Topic keyword statistics
    You can also narrow the search to a country of choice by including the government domain extension for that country:
    Topic keyword statistics (for Australia) OR Topic keyword statistics (for for the United Kingdom). If you are not able to find statistics for a particular country, try searching for the region instead
  • Consulting the websites of international organisations (e.g. OECD) is very useful when you have to compare conditions in different countries
  • When searching for statistics, bear in mind that you may not always be able to find the exact data you are looking for as i) it takes time to collect and publish statistical data, so you may not be able to find the most current statistics on your topic ii) the data may have never been collected iii) the data may be held privately and not available to the public. So be sure to consider other alternative measures to support your research. 



Where can I find statistics?


Statistical data is not always easy to locate as as there is no one single source for this type of information. Most statistics are published by national or state government agencies. However they can also be found in scholarly journals, reports, websites, books, databases, magazines and newspapers. 


Websites of relevant organisations


The following websites provide statistical data for Australia and other countries around the world.



Library Catalogue:


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

To search the Catalogue, use your keywords and add the word statistics and the state or country you are interested in, as shown below.







To find journal articles containing statistics on a topic, search a relevant database, accessible from the library's Databases page. You may include keywords (statistics OR surveys OR data OR rate OR proportion) as part of your search, as shown below. Other possible keywords include prevalence, percentage, trends and data.


In the ProQuest database, you could search as follows:



Other sources:


  • Google Public Data takes large data sets and makes them available to the public in  the form of bar graphs, line graphs, maps and bubbles.


  • World Bank Open Data provides free access to global development data. You can browse by country or indicator (e.g. education, health, and more). 


  • A search in Google using keywords (statistics, percentage, prevalence, trends etc.) can also help you find statistics. Adding a year can help locate more recent statistics, as shown below.