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COMM 115 - Group Discussion and Decision - Rodriguez-Rentas: Statistics and Polls

Using Web Resources

 The internet is fine for supplementary material for your paper like statistics and information on organizations, but not for the bulk of your research.

Think: Who would have the information you are looking for?

Ex: Statistics on Concussions: The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), part of the Dept. of Health and Human Services, compiles information on injuries and disease reported through hospitals and other healthcare sources. They would be the most reliable source for statistics on concussions.

If you are not familiar with the source, look for an 'About Us' page to find out if the person or organization presenting the information would be an expert in that area. If there is no information about who is responsible for the website, you don't know where the information came from.


Ask a librarian if you are not sure if your sources are the best ones for the information you are seeking.


Using polls and statistics

When you use statistical information, it is not enough to simply say X% of people approve or disapprove of a certain issue. Opinions change over time and depend on the demographics of the group being polled. Note the following:

Who collected the data/took the poll?

When was this infomation collected?

What group was surveyed?

How big was the group?

What kind of information was being collected?


E.g. A 2013 Pew Research poll showed that although 69% of of U.S. adults surveyed felt that the obesity problem in the U.S. was either' Extremely' or 'Very Serious,' only 42% felt that the government should play a significant role in reducing obesity ("Obesity's Impact").

Public Agrees on Obesity's Impact, Not Government's Role. (2013, Nov. 12). Retrieved from

APA format: Lastname, FirstInitial. (Year, Month Day of publication). Article Title. Retrieved from URL

If there is no author, list the article title first.

Be careful to note the language used in the data: e.g. 'significant role' compared to 'role'.

International Stats

U.S. Government Statistics

Below are a selection of websites that may be of use when writing your paper. Most provide statistical information on various aspects of the U.S. Population (crime, health, education etc). There are usually tables subdividing each by race, for comparisions between difference population group.

When using online sources, but sure to apply recommended evaluation criteria before using any information in your research paper.

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