Finding Data About Us
Planning Your AnalysisChoice of analysis should be based on the question you want answered. So when planning your analysis, start at the end and work backwards.
A research question can take many forms. Some research questions are descriptive whereas others focus on explanation. For example, one researcher might want to know,
Another researcher might want to know,
At DSS we can help you answer these types of questions. However, you have to clearly formulate a question or set of questions so we can help you get started.
When looking for data, you need to consider what variables you need, what time periods you need the data to cover, and how the data was collected. Particularly with analysis of economic and financial data, time is an important factor. There are two basic types of time-dependent analyses: cross-section time-series and panel study.
Some common types of analyses:
Identify a Study/Data File (locate data, locate codebook)
Once you have identified your research question(s) and have some idea of what kind of analysis might help answer them, you need to find the data that will help you answer your question(s). You might find that you will have to reformulate your question(s) depending on the data that is available.
Different research questions require different types of data. Some research questions require data that you collect yourself through interviews, small surveys, or historical research (qualitative data). Other research questions require secondary analysis of large data sets.
Preparing Your Data
You will probably spend more time getting the data into a usable format than you will actually conducting the analysis. Trying to match data from different sources can be particularly time-consuming, for a variety of reasons:
Resources at Other Sites