Collecting Data

Tips for finding Data Online through Search Engines

Google has a bunch of advanced functions that can help your find data and/or documents quickly.

  1. Here are some tips specific to search engines. You can use the operators discussed below and combine them to further drill down:
    • Search for specific phrases with quotes “”
      Ex “NYC Schools and Lead in Water”
    • Add “data” to a search:
      Ex “NYC Schools and Lead in Water data”
    • Exclude search words with a hyphen
    • Search for something either/or with OR
      Ex: Lead in Water 1990 OR 2018
    • Find Websites that are similar to others by using related
      Ex: “Related:LeadInWater”
  2. Type in a search topic together with ‘data’ and see what comes up under the image search.
  3. Search only with a certain domain by using site “site url: topic”
    Ex: “ Lead in water site”
  4. Search for a specific filetype:xls (or xlsx,csv or pdf)
    Ex: “Lead in water filetype:pdf”
  5. You can use this to find data or documents from specific agencies:
    Ex: Lead in water filetype:doc
  6. You can find out more on google:
  7. Use existing data repositories: (Many of them have limited functionality (for sorting/filtering) but you can easily download data:
  8. Sites to search for academic research:
Tips for collecting and saving Information
  • Create a text document. Copy and paste all related links to where you have gathered content from
  • Save a clean copy of your data and content
  • Keep track of your work. Save edited versions under new name. Ex: ‘ContentHitchings-V1.doc,’ ‘ContentHitchings-V2.doc’
  • Keep careful records of your sources
  • Set up a spread sheet in Excel. Create categories for different data types.
  • Keep track of your work. Save edited versions under new name. Ex: ‘ContentHitchings-V1.xls,’ ‘ContentHitchings-V2.xls’

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