Collecting Data


Data collection can take a wide variety of forms but all political scientists engage in data collection at some point in their academic pursuits. For a political theorist, the data might be texts.  For someone studying elections in the United States, important data may include public opinion surveys or exit polls. A researcher trying to understand why Ghana is a stable democracy while its neighbor, Cote d’Ivoire, is not, may seek rich descriptions of the political leadership in those countries.

Most undergraduate research projects involve using the data that others have collected. A list of some accessible data archives is at the bottom of this page. However, a number of undergraduates do engage in forms of data collection, especially in-depth interviewing and fieldwork. All will use the library as a means to collecting data.


Accessible Data Archives

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Contributor: Nicholas Quah