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COM 100: Smart Searching Online

This guide supports the work of students in COM 100, Principles of Human Communication

The Constant Question

"Is this site the BEST source for the information I need?"

Finding Statistics Online

Looking for statistical information?

Government offices and agencies collect data on a wide variety of topics. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Department of Justice all publish statistical data online.

An Advanced Google Search is one effective way to find statistics on the open Web.

Here's how:

  • Use statistics as a required search term
  • Try several words that describe your topic in the "any of these words" box
  • On the lower half of the page, enter .gov in the box labeled "site or domain"

When you find useful information, use the search tools on the site to see what other data may be available.

Not finding what you need?

Try one of these options:

Evaluating Online Information

Consider Quality...

These principles of web source evalution are drawn from St. Martin's Handbook8th edition (p. 218-219):


  • Does the site or document have an author? What are the author's credentials? Why should you trust this author as an expert? 


  • Who sponsors or publishes the source? What evidence demonstrates that the sponsor or publisher is credible? What purpose or perspective does the sponsor seem to promote?


  • How recently was the information posted or modified? Could it be outdated or obsolete?


  • How do you know that the information itself is trustworthy? Are there links to other sites or sources to support factual claims?