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Finding and Using Health Statistics

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Finding Health Statistics Exercises

Search Strategies

Search by Organization or Resource

  • Identify the type of data you need to answer your research question. Do you need:
    • A numerical statistic or fact, such as prevalence rates, mortality rates, or other health indicators?
    • A complete data set for independent analysis?
    • A chart or figure?
  • What is the geographic scope of your data needs?
    • Are you looking for county, state, nationwide, or global health data?
  • Identify one or more organizations/agencies that are likely to collect or share the information you are interested in. (ex: The National Center for Health Statistics compiles statistics on virtually all aspects of health and health care, from chronic conditions and risk factors, to insurance and utilization. This is often a good place to start for U.S. health statistics.)
    • Look for a tab or link that says “Data”, “Statistics”, “Research”, etc. on the organization’s homepage.
  • Alternatively, identify a specific resource (such as any of those listed in this section) that answers your particular research need. (ex: You want to compare various measures of health status between several states. Visit Kaiser’s State Health Facts.)

This section provides an introduction to some of the major organizations and government agencies that collect and provide health statistics as well as search strategies for finding the right resources.

Sources

Continue on, to explore each of these sources with hands-on exercises.

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