Helpful Government Sites

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Depending on what kind of project you’re working on, you often need statistics to back up any claims you make.  While we at the library are lucky to offer students access to a wide variety of excellent databases, sometimes you need to look outside the databases for your information.  Sites like wikipedia or blogs are unacceptable for scholarly research, and you may occasionally come across an article that lists statistics but doesn’t cite its sources.  There are many government sites that offer well-organized, current information and statistics to serve as a foundation for your research.

Here’s a shortlist of some that will be helpful to Bryant students:

CIA World Factbook: When doing research on other countries, it can be incredibly frustrating at time to just get basic information about the type of government, major industries or political structure.  The World Factbook is an excellent source for information on every country in the world.  In addition to that, there are links to intelligence literature, reports, press releases, maps and more.  The factbook is updated on a weekly basis, and is  not only an excellent source of information, but it’s actually interesting to read and browse.

US Census Factfinder: You can find industry specific economic factsheets for the whole country, or for individual cities then refine it further by industry.  There is also some data on foreign trade, current and historical, economic surveys and community surveys.

Congressional Budget Office: CBO provides Congress with: Objective, nonpartisan, and timely analyses to aid in economic and budgetary decisions on the wide array of programs covered by the federal budget; and the information and estimates required for the Congressional budget process.

To that end, CBO offers access to economic and employment projections, as well as publications ranging from agriculture to housing to federal personnel.  It also includes cost estimates for bills currently in congress and PAYGO tables.

Bureau of Labor and Statistics: BLS includes information on American labor statistics as well as international comparisons.  Major headings covered by BLS include: Inflation Prices, Unemployment, Employment, Spending and Time Use, Productivity, Pay and Benefits and Workplace Injuries.  You can look at current and historical information about the labor market in the US.  The Bureau of Labor and Statistics also includes the Occupational Outlook Handbook, which shows projected growth or decrease in demand by industry.  This is a useful economic indicator, but also is helping for individual career research.

US Patent Office: Have a great idea and need to know if it’s been done already?  This is where you go to find out.  The patent office site allows full text and image searching (with a tiff viewer) of historic and current patents.  There are also links explaining why patent something, how patent and copyright differ and links to forms.

Department of Health:  If you need information about statistics at the state level, often those can be found on that state’s Department of Health site.

Securities and Exchange Commission: Need information on a publicly-traded company? This should be one of your first stops.  You can search by ticker symbol or company name and bring up a complete list of SEC filings including press releases, quarterly reports, prospectuses and communications and more.

The White House:  The White House is the best place to look for unbiased current legislation information as well as statements, speeches and news from the nation’s capital.  It also includes basic civics lessons on the three branches of government and their functions, The Constitution, Links to state and local government and The White House blog.

National Center for Education Statistics: If you need education statistics, then this is where you need to look.  NCES is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education.  You can search the site for current statistics as well as read reports and publications.

Energy Information Administration: Monthly and yearly energy forecasts, analysis and statistics, congressional reports, greenhouse gas data, energy use statistics, and international energy data.

Good luck with your research!

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