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Statistics, data and test instruments: Searching for stats and data

Locate test instruments and critiques of measures

Images of numbers, magnifying glasses and question marks

Banner image source: Pixabay 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 licensed under a CC0 Public Domain licence.

Finding and using statistical data

  1. Search Library databases in your subject area
  2. Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) website
  3. Other websites listed on this guide, including government and UN sites


Consider :

  • What sort of statistics do you need and what is a likely source for them?
  • International statistics collected by governments and other organisations may vary in coverage and depth of content.
  • If searching on the open web be aware that statistics may also be collected and collated by interest groups or individuals so be a critical user of  data and statistics.  

Open data

Open data is available (usually online) for reuse and share without copyright or other licensing restrictions.

Open padlock and circuit boards

Image source: Pixabay

Scientific and government data are the most common types of open data. provides access to Australian public data.

The Human Genome Project is an excellent example of open scientific data.

The Google Dataset Search allows you to search open data by the 'tags' owners of the data assign. is the central source of Australian open government data. Anyone can access the anonymised public data published by federal, state and local government agencies.

Many of the datasets can be visualised using in-built mapping tools. Datasets that contain a geospacial field (such as latitude and longitude) can be mapped an viewed in NationalMap.

For support, contact  

Data WA

Data WA is the place to discover WA public sector data. The data catalogue provides access to datasets provided by organisations across the public sector.

Can't find the WA public sector data you are looking for? Watch this video for search tips. If you still need help with finding what you are looking for, email



Library databases

Many library databases are excellent sources of statistics, and should be the first place you search for information.

View databases for your area of study on the Find Databases page, under Browse by subject.

Business statistics

Australian Data Archive

Australian Data Archive (ADA) provides access to research data.

The ADA is comprised of seven sub-archives: 

ADA sub archives Social Science, Historical, Indigenous, Longitudinal, Qualitative, International, Crime and Justice

  • The Historical archive includes Australian colonial census publications for 1834-1901, and Australian population censuses from 1966 onwards.
  • The Social Science archive includes Australian public opinion polls from 1944 onwards including Australian Gallup Polls, Age Polls and Saulwick Polls.

Health and medical statistics online

Social Health Atlas of Australia

Australian Health Map

Australian Department of Health

Cancer Australia

Medicare. Includes statistics on Medicare, the PBS, organ donation and immunisation.

Safe Work Australia. Includes stats on workplace injury etc.

NHMRC (National Health and Medical Research Council). Statistics on research funding.

WA Department of Health. Includes Population Health Division with information on preventable disease, disability and premature death.

Mental Health Commission. Including reports on drug and alcohol use.

WARDA (WA Registry of Developmental Anomalies).

Searching health and medical databases

When searching databases like AustHealth, EMBASE and Medline for statistics, it can be useful to use Subject Headings from the thesauri to make sure your search finds all possible results. ​Suggested subject headings include statistics, biostatistics, statistics as topic, cancer statistics, health statistics, health status indicators, epidemiology, vital statistics, mortality, morbidity, prevalence, incidence, epidemiological data, survival.

You could also use subheadings to add statistical terms to your existing search terms. For example, Medline (below) has a Statistics & Numerical Data subheading:



For detailed information on thesauri and Subject Headings in Medline and CINAHL see the Thesauri information on the Compose a Search guide.

Evaluating data

Like any other information you find, it is best to think critically about statistics, and carefully consider if you can rely on the information.

Our Evaluating Information guide can help with this. It is written about journal articles, but also applies to statistics.


 Except for logos, Canva designs or where otherwise indicated, content in this guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence