UCB Libraries

WRTG 3020 Grant Writing:
Introduction to Data and Research

Information on Grants and Writing

Use this Guide to find general resources for researching, locating, and writing grants

Places to Start for Statistics


  • Statistical Abstract of the United States
    This site links to tables for data collected for the US, by all the various agencies. You can browse using the topic areas on the left, or search using the search box on the left. The tables in Statistical Abstract provides links to the source of the data.   The Statistical Abstract is both a source of data and an index/guide to other US data publications and sources.
  • Census Bureau   
    Census A-Z Subject List
    Know the topic you are interested in? You can use the subject list to take you straight to a page listing the various data sets and reports on that topic. While there are some links to non-demographic and economic figures, these pages do not have all the data produced by the US.
  • Statistical Insight  CU
    This database is a helpful finding aid when searching for possible sources of statistical information, with access to full-text items and bibliographic information spanning federal and state government, international and commercial data. The three components of the database are American Statistical Index (ASI), Index to International Statistics (IIS), and Statistical Reference Index (SRI).

Two Places to Find Census Data

American Factfinder
This site is the place to go for data sets from the Census Bureau.

Basic Community Information
For a profile of a community that includes demographics, social, economic and housing characteristics, follow these instructions:

1. Choose "Geographies" on the left.
2. Choose the Name tab.
3. Type the name of your community in the search box and click on GO,
4. From the search results, choose your community by clicking on the name (OR click on the box next to the geography and click ADD). Make sure the name shows up in the upper left corner of the screen behind your box.
5.  Click on Topics.
6.  Open the folder for Product types and select Data profiles.
7. Choose the profile(s) that has the information you need.
8.  Click on View to see the profiles you selected.
9.  To collapse the categories, click on Modify tables.  Use the – and + keys to collapse or expand the date.   Use the check-marks to the right of the data category to eliminate it entirely.  You may sort the rows and columns, re-arrange them and transpose the columns/rows as well.
10.  Use the Download function to create a spreadsheet or pdf of the data.

Follow the same technique for selecting and searching any of the categories in the Topics tab.

Advanced Searching

American FactFinder Advanced Searching YouTube

Advanced Searching in FactFinder 2


The video above will walk you through advanced searching in American Factfinder. Or alternatively, you can follow these steps:

  1. Choose "Geographies" on the left.
  2. Type the name of your community in the box.
  3. Choose your community by clicking on the name. Make sure it shows up in the upper left corner of the screen behind your box.
  4. Clear search results and search for additional communities, adding them all using the steps above.
  5. In topic, choose your data set. Tips:
    American Community Survey (ACS) is conducted yearly and provides the most detailed timely demographic data. Use 5-year estimates (not yet in the new Factfinder interface) whenever possible.
    Summary File Data (SF) This is from the main decennial census, for 2010 forward this only contains basic population characteristics. Summary File 3 and 4 served the same purpose as the ACS in previous surveys.
  6. Search for the information you need or browse using the topics on the left.
  7. Choose the data table that has the information you need.

Social Explorer CU
This is a subscription database that is only available on campus, but it has great maps and data sets you won't find in American Factfinder.

Maps (you can also click maps on the home page)

These maps are available back to 1790. Now before you get too excited, the data for Colorado doesn't go back that far. The data must have been collected in the Decennial Census, so the 1880 census is the first one with data for Colorado.

Want to save this? Well, currently there is only one option for saving, exporting it to Power Point (which you can find under "file" on the left above the map).

Reports (again you can also click reports on the home page)

Data is available back to 1790, but by decade. You can also find a nice set of data on religion back to 1980 on these pages from the Association of Religion Data archives.

This database works exactly the same as the American Factfinder data sets, except that in some cases it will not have the search and subject capabilities you had in Factfinder.

Colorado Government Statistical Information
Guide to selected print and electronic publications, as well as web sites, maintained by state agencies in Colorado.

Tips for Finding Statistical Data

  • Who would be tracking this data? Can you identify a governmental source (federal, state or local or maybe all three? Can you identify an organization? Find their web site and look for links with the words, data or statistics or reports or research.
  • Who would be using this information? For example, other researchers might have tracked this data and used it in a published article or book. Look for publications on your topic and see if they include data, graphs or tables. Look at the footnotes for the source of the information.
  • Sometimes you will need to expand the universe of your data. If you need small area statistics, such as a school district and you can’t find data at that level, you might try looking for city, county or zip code data instead.
  • If you find data that is similar but not exactly what you are looking for, it’s worth contacting the organization or the person listed as the author. For government agencies or organizations, there is usually a Contact Us link. For articles or books, you can usually find an email or address for the author. People are often very responsive to your requests.
  • Looking for really current data? It usually takes some time for data to be collected and reported.

Need more data help?


Scholarly Sources

The key to searching databases for articles is developing keywords that represent your research question and then combining them effectively.  Here are some tips:


Developing Keywords

Before you start to research a topic, you need to develop keywords that represent your research interest, question, or inquiry.


Keywords are significant words (usually nouns or noun phrases) which can be used as search terms in online catalogs or databases. Keywords will determine the quantity and relevance of results you retrieve when searching.

First you will identify and articulate your topic in your own words:



I am interested in the issue of access to dental care for low-income populations

Next you will designate the main concepts or ideas that describe the topic:

Concept 1:


Concept 2:

Concept 3:

Low Income

Then develop other terms and vocabulary that represent the topic. Some terms may be broader, narrower, or synonyms.


Adding terms that represent geographical distinctions, time periods, or significant figures about your topic may also be useful. (i.e. United States or North America)

Concept 1:





Concept 2:





Concept 3:

Low Income




Combining Keywords with Boolean Operators



AND: dental AND care must find both terms
OR: poor OR poverty must find one of the terms



Phrases: “dental care”
Synonyms: Dental AND (care OR hygiene OR health)
Wildcards: cavit* will find cavity or cavities

For deatails on combining keywords for the best results view the

How Do I Use Keywords


Some databases that might be good places to start (depending on your topic):

  • Academic Search Premier CU
    This scholarly multi-disciplinary database contains indexing for over 8,000 publications, with full text for more than 4,450 of those titles. PDF backfiles to 1975 or further are available for well over one hundred journals, and searchable cited references are provided for more than 1,000 titles. Provides full text journal coverage for nearly all academic areas of study - including social sciences, humanities, education, computer sciences, engineering, language and linguistics, arts & literature, medical sciences, and ethnic studies.
  • PsycInfo CU
    Index with citations and summaries of journal articles, book chapters, books, dissertations, and technical reports, covering psychology and the psychological aspects of related discipline.
  • PubMed
    A database provided by U.S. National Library of Medicine that includes over 17 million citations from MEDLINE and other life science journals for biomedical articles back to the 1950s. PubMed includes links to full text articles and other related resources.
  • Web of Science    CU
    An interdisciplinary online index that provides bibliographic citations for high impact journals in the disciplines of science, social sciences, and arts and humanities. Provides subject, citation, and title access. Includes access to current and retrospective bibliographic information from nearly 9,300 leading scholarly peer-reviewed journals. The database can be used to track resources cited in an article and to identify articles which cite an article or book. The "Find Related Records" feature enables users to find other articles that have cited the same sources. All three areas (sciences, social sciences, and arts and humanities) can be searched individually or in combination.
  • Business Source Complete CU
    Contains full-text journals in all disciplines of business, management, accounting, finance and economics. Additional full text, non-journal content includes financial data, investment research reports, industry reports, market research reports, and more.
  • ERIC
    ERIC provides unlimited access to more than 1.3 million bibliographic records of journal articles and other education-related materials, with hundreds of new records added multiple times per week. If available, links to full text are included.

More Sources:

Connecting from off campus:  To access the libraries’ subscription databases from off-campus, you will need to download a piece of software called VPN, which you can find from the library web page. You must have an Identikey and password to use the VPN.

  • VPN help: How Do I get off campus access?

Citing Sources

  • How to Cite a Source
    This is a collection of guides to various styles (APA, MLA, Turabian, etc.) and resources for using citation tools, such as RefWorks.
  • RefWorks
    RefWorks is a citation manager that will make all your citing so much easier. Most of the databases mentioned on these pages have links to export citations into RefWorks. You can use this tool to gather all your citations and then create a bibliography when you have finished your paper. You can even directly export citations into RefWorks from Chinook!

    Research and Subject Guides Database
    This database contains all the guides produced by librarians at CU-Boulder. While there are guides to statistics in here, there are also guides to topics that might lead you to the group that produces a particular statistical resource.

Still need help?
There are a number of ways to receive additional assistance:
1. Stop by the Research Desk on the second floor, check the web site for hours.
2. During those same hours, ask us on chat.

We are always happy to answer questions or set up appointments to have a more in-depth discussion of your research.

Leanne Walther Debra VanTassel
leanne.walther@colorado.edu debra.vantassel@colorado.edu
303-735-6804 303-492-5929