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Syracuse University Libraries

COM 100 - First Year Seminar (Fall 2017)

Highlights of common research starting points for students in COM 100 (and related needs for research in COM 107..and beyond COM 107)

Databases A-Z

Encyclopedia Style Topical Overviews

SUMMON can also be used to identify reference book titles by adding the content type refinement "reference" to one's search in that environment.

Country Reports

E.I.U. - Published by the "Economist Intelligence Unit," offers a regular series of extensive country reports on the politics and economics of the countries covered, as well as forecasting.  Additionally, annual "Country Commerce" reports provide in-depth reviews of the business conditions in these countries

Europa World - More abbreviated than E.I.U., a series of encyclopedia style overviews about countries around the globe, including basic economic and political facts, telecommunication indicators, maps, etc.

Statistical Data

Whether seeking local, regional or national or international level statistical data, one or more of the following starting points may be pertinent.  Recall that in most situations, unless you are relying exclusively on numeric data found within other news articles, business articles or scholarly journal articles you locate - often your key task is to determine the identity of an agency or organization that is the primary aggregator for the sorts of numbers you are wanting to gather.  And, at times, even if very local data is desired (e.g., city level), it may be collated or reported at state or national levels.  Moreover, even with public agencies and government sources, because data is gathered - does not mean specific data variables will necessarily be systematically publicly reported as to specific subcategories or geographies or historical time periods you seek.  The following are a wide range of great starting point options:

  • Proquest Statistical Insight - Comprehensive access to statistical information sourced out U.S. federal and state government agencies, international organizations, universities, nonprofit organizations, etc.
  • U.S. Political Stats - Provides executive, legislative and judicial branch data, as well as economic indicators and content from CQ Roll Call and CQ Press. Covers such topics as campaign finance, elections, floor votes, interest groups, Supreme Court Cases and more.
  • Data-Planet Statistical Datasets - Once inside Data-Planet Statistical Datasets, look toward the left of the screen for a series of expandable subject categories.  The "International" subject classification draws datapoints from sources such as the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, United Nations and China Data Center as well as World Resource Institute environmental data.  Additional subject categories cover foreign labor statistics, population change/migration, and balance of trade data.  Data categories covered for the U.S. include education, commerce, housing and construction, population and income, prices and cost of living, energy, health, labor & employment, banking, finance and insurance.  Variables can be cross-compared using side by side tables and charts.  Access note:  Often works best via a non-Internet Explorer browser.


  • U.S. Census Bureau - See especially Census Bureau QuickFacts and the American Factfinder (factfinder's guided search is recommended).  Note, if frustrated by some of the functionality of the Bureau's FactFinder - another user friendly tool for exploring current and deeply historical U.S. Census data is via the database from Queen's College called - Social Explorer.


  • - From the U.S. Federal CIO Council, General Services Administration,'s mission is to increase the ability of the U.S. public to find, download and use datasets generated and held by the U.S. federal government.



Two (2) Mapping Databases - These two user friendly geographic information systems allow creation of maps, as well as reports in tabular form - on all manner of U.S. Census data, as well as additional categories.  Assuming numbers are available at these levels, it is possible in these systems to localize the statistics reported to state level, county level, city level, various Congressional districts, and often down to even smaller levels of analysis such as Census Tracts, Census Block Groups or Zip Codes.

  • Policy Map is a geographic information system which allows you to easily create and customize maps, tables, and charts detailing various U.S. demographics, real estate, crime, money & income, jobs, education, energy, and public investments. A unique feature here is some categories of data can be sorted by U.S. School District.
  • SimplyAnalytics (Geographic Research, Inc.) This database contains a wealth of consumer demographic and market research survey data, viewable as maps or in the form of tabular reports.  Variables one can explore include U.S. Census and MRI  consumer survey data.  One can determine numeric counts for types of businesses within a given region (based on NAICS industry codes), consumer expenditures for food in that region, income levels, and a wide array of additional variables, such as consumer price index data for that area, retail sales levels, media viewing, reading and listening habits, preferences for specific consumer brand name products and quality of life indicators such as crime statistics, average temperature, precipitation, etc.   The database offers extensive help screens and instructional screencasts for those new to the system.


  • Numeric Data Resources Subject Guide (SU Libraries) - Authored by Numeric Data Subject Specialist Paul Bern.  Much like John Olson's government guide, but in this case with greater quantitative focus, this portal also may lead you to sources of current and historical statistical data.



SUMMON - After getting search results within the main - general SU Libraries search tool, SUMMON - one of the available content type refinements is called "data set."  At times, looking only at the results under that "data set" category may help you identify either needed data, or - the identity of an agency, organization or report title series that collects the data you require.


Public Opinion