Skip to Main Content

ECON 488 - Economics Research Seminar: Home

Evaluation Opportunity of Scott Anderson ( 2023 - 2024 )


  1. Identify primary sources of economic data.

    Primary economic data is typically "raw" and hasn't been subjected to much analysis or interpretation as it is presented (not to be confused with the methodology that was used to obtain the "raw" data itself). These are typically manifest as databases of numbers or figures that measure some specific economic activity (employment rate) or demand for something (existing home sales).
  2. Identify secondary sources of economic data.

    Secondary sources of economic data are typically a sets of primary data that have been investigated for some type of correlation or causation between a number of variables. These types of sources are typically manifest as scholarly articles, white papers, pre-prints, book chapters, or books.

    You should be aware that some organizations (regional Federal Reserve Banks are a good example) are tasked with both collecting primary economic data AND providing some analysis of that information and presenting it to an audience or clientele in an readily understandable form.  In many cases you should be able to access the "raw" data independent of the analysis that has been reported.

  3. Evaulate economic data / information

    Evaluate the information you have located for applicability to your research question.  Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, Purpose.
  4. Research is a Process

    Understand that conducting research is a reiterative process and that solid research with primary and secondary resources can rarely be done with only one trip through the process outlined in objectives 1, 2, and 3 above.  The more you know, the more you know about other resources and opportunities; and it's very unlikely that you know exactly what you're looking for the first time through the research process.  You won't be doing this ad infinitium, but you should expect to undertake steps 1,2 and 3 above several times for each research question. 

Evaluating Information


Regardless of where you are getting your information, you need to be aware of a few simple attributes about whatever information you are using.

When evaluating information, here are five helpful considerations:

Currency: timeliness of the information.

Relevance: importance of the information for your need.

Authority: source of the information.

Accuracy: reliability, truthfulness, correctness.

Purpose: reason that the information exists.

Getting Started / Basic Overviews

Primary Sources of Economic Data

Primary Sources of Regional Economic Data

Primary Sources of Demographic Information

Primary Source Regional Business Information

Secondary Sources of Economic Data / Literature / PrePrints / Conference Proceedings


These are the resources where you will find articles, conference papers, pre-prints, book chapters, and books.  Work that might be similar to what you are attempting that has already been published.  You might find similar items helpful for variable(s) identification, design methodology or forumulating your research question(s).  If an article of particular relevancy is located the works cited can be an excellent way to jumpstart your literature review.

Additional Sources for Secondary Literature

Publications of Note

Think Tanks and Policy Groups

Biographical Resources

Chicago Citation Style

Library Search ( nearly everything )

Advanced Library Search:      

Subject Librarian

Profile Photo
Scott Anderson
Office: Library,
Lower Level 102A ( LL102A )

Library Services


Federal Depository Library Program logo - graphic eagle icon McNairy Library • Millersville University9 North George St., Millersville, PA 17551 • (717) 871-7111 • Comments? Let us know!

© Copyright 2016. All Rights Reserved. Millersville University is an Affirmative Action/ Equal Opportunity Institution. A Member of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education.