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COB 191 - Business Analytics

This guide will help students in COB 191 find datasets to use for their Business Analytics projects.

Finding data & statistics

The terms "data" and "statistics" are often used interchangeably. In practice, they mean different things. Data is the information from which statistics are derived. Statistics is the interpretation of data using data analysis. Statistics are the numbers and percentages found in academic journal articles, magazines, and newspapers. Data sets must be collected or downloaded and independently analyzed. 

You need data if:

  • You are looking to create new knowledge and draw your own conclusions
  • You are going to be using a data analytics tool to analyze the data (examples: Microsoft Excel, ArcGIS, SQL)

You need statistics if:

  • You need a quick number or percentage to support an argument in a research paper
  • The information that you're looking for can be provided in a table, chart, or other visualization

Adapted from Morelock, K. (2018, February 2). Finding statistics & data (A how-to guide).Retrieved from DePaul University.


What if my data is in PDF format?

Adobe Acrobat Pro allows users to convert a machine-readable PDF into an Excel spreadsheet. 

With the PDF open, choose Select File > Save As > Spreadsheet > Microsoft Excel Workbook. 

What if I want to find data myself?

Try these specialized search engines.

Resources for datasets

JMU & Harrisonburg data

Business & industry data

Health & safety data


Other government data

International data

Public opinion & polling time-series data

Oddball datasets