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You find data to test your hypothesis in the real world. Sometimes the data you look at will support what you've already read in the literature, and sometimes it will surprise you- do some more research to consider what additional factors might explain the difference (eg. Doug Jones' win in Alabama).
Integrates thousands of diverse topics of data and facts from a wide range of sources. Sources of information include market research, trade publications, scientific journals, and government databases.
A collection of datasets for research in the social sciences, with sets in a range of disciplines including political science, sociology, demography, economics, history, education, gerontology, criminal justice, public health, foreign policy, and law.
An online edition of the reference work from Cambridge University Press, with historical U.S. Census Bureau data on population, work and welfare, economic structure and performance, economic sectors, and governance and international relations.
The Roper Center archive consists of over 35,000 datasets from public opinion surveys dating back to the 1930s. Approximately 60% of these were conducted in the United States. These studies cover a vast variety of topics including elections and politics, social issues, finances and the economy, education, health, international affairs, social movements and change, and historical events.
If you don't find the data you're looking for through one of the data sources on this guide, try searching your keywords in Google followed by "filetype:xls" or "filetype:csv" to get spreadsheet data.
Data doesn't always need to be a spreadsheet full of numbers- transcripts of hearings, text of op-eds, etc. can all be excellent sources of data. This guide focuses more on quantitative data, but don't shy away from using qualitative sources if they will be the best way to test your hypothesis.
Data needs to be assessed too- make sure the data is from a reputable organization/researcher without significant incentives to publish inaccurate results.
For tips on citing data in different styles, see this guide.