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Information Literacy Tutorial: I am looking for data

Learn what academic literature is, where to find it and how to use it correctly.

Data

Not all information you need on a particular subject is easy to find in encyclopaedias, handbooks, monographs or journal articles. There are special databases containing available factual data. The data may be statistics, data relating to countries, or business/company data.

Data are used to substantiate an argument, as comparison material for an analysis (e.g. a market analysis) or as a point of reference for a work process or company process. If you use data you need to refer to the databases where you found them.

When you use data for your research you have to cite these, like you would do for literature you have consulted. You can do this by referring to the relevant databases. In many cases you can export the data from those databases so that you can process them yourself.

Research data

Most scientific research produces research data. These research data may take the form of calculations, test results and random tests, statistical data, models, reports, interviews, film and video etc. Primary publications (dissertations, reports, academic articles) generally contain such research data, or refer to them. 

In the previous chapters you have learned how to find articles and reports. LIT final year projects, master and PhD theses can be found in the library catalogue.
Other resources include:

  • RIAN Ireland's National Database of Research Papers. Browse by Publication to find theses with links to full text
  • DART Europe partners help to provide researchers with a single European Portal for the discovery of Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Free access to 825,310 open access research theses from 619 Universities in 28 European countries.

Nowadays, researchers are expected to upload their (raw) research data to a data archive after finishing their research. Examples of data archives is Dataverse.

Statistical data

Statistics relating to Ireland can be found on:

International statistics can be found in databases such as

The Library, Limerick Institute of Technology