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Types of Sources: Government Data and Reports

So many choices! Use this guide to determine when to use a book, journal, video, encyclopedia or other sources.

About Government Data and Reports

Data is collected by the US Government and compiled into reports provide information.

Use this data and analysis:

  • To discover new developments or findings from communities, economics, policy, science, and technical research before its publication in journals
  • To see how the research in specific topic areas was approached from an historical perspective

Characteristics of Government Data and Reports

Authors are: government employees often economists, statisticians, scientists, engineers, government contractors, or technical personnel.

Sources are: always cited with references and/or footnotes.

Articles are:Long and often have sections such as abstract and appendixes. Often includes tables, images, and charts. Information is in the public domain unless noted.

They have: no ads.

Data and Statistics

Finding US Government Data and Information

Due to the Freedom of Information Act many government projects, data and reports are available online.  However, they may not always be easy to find. Contact the library if you need help locating a report. 

A sample of links to information:

Government Publications

How to Cite

Example data set reference citation in American Psychological Association (APA) style:

O’Donohue, W. (2017). Content analysis of undergraduate psychology textbooks (ICPSR 21600; Version V1) [Data set]. ICPSR.

Example print report reference citation in American Psychological Association (APA) style:

National Institute of Mental Health. (1990). Clinical training in serious mental illness (DHHS Publication No. ADM 90-1679). Washington, D.C: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Example electronic technical reports reference citation in American Psychological Association (APA) style:

Irish, J. and Signell, R. (1992). Tides of Massachusetts and Cape Cod bays (WHOI-92-35). Woods Hole, MA: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved from

For information on additional citation styles, please see the Citing Sources guide.