The Internet is a great place to find statistics and data! However, it is important to evaluate that information before citing it in a paper. An easy way to find credible statistics and data is to limit your searches to government or educational websites. You can do this by performing an advanced search in Google or by adding :.gov or :.edu to the end of your search terms in Google. If you are using articles or websites that reference data or reports but did not conduct the original research, make sure you can get back to the original research or data set which is hopefully referenced in the article or website.
By adding the .gov limit to my search I only see government websites in my results, which hopefully ensures credibility.
Google Search Tips
1. Check the web domain:
Some domains have gatekeeper functions which restricts the type of site which can be included. This means webpages with the domains .edu, .gov and others are more likely to be reliable sources.
Government (.gov or .mil) - Government websites end in .gov are among the most reliable sources on the web. But beware of political sites, their intent is usually used to sway public opinion.
University (.edu) - University/College web sites end in .edu, are usually reliable.
Company Websites (.com) - Company web sites generally end in .com. These sites are great for information about a particular company. However be aware that company websites are used to promote or sell something, so be sure the information is non-biased.
Special Interest (.org) - While many professional, trustworthy organizations end in .org, there are also many .orgs that are biased and promote a specific agenda.
2. Exclude words from your search:
Put - in front of a word you want to leave out. For example, jaguar speed -car
3. Search for an exact match
Put a word or phrase inside quotes. For example, "climate change"
4. Search for a specific site:
Put "site:" in front of a site or domain to limit to a specific domain.
For example, site:youtube.com or site:.govor
saginaw city population site:census.gov
5. Search within a specific date range for the most current results:
Put "after:" in front of the year you want to limit from
climate change after:2019
OR Use the Tools button shown below to set up a date search limit: