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COM 242: Other sources

Government information

The United States federal, state, and local governments produce and publish a great deal of valuable information. Learn more in this LibGuide.

Custom Searches

Reports and Publications

Government offices and agencies as well as nonprofit and for-profit organizations and companies publish a wealth of information. If you know the government agency, organization, research institute, or company responsible for publishing a report, finding it on the web is relatively easy.

Things get more complicated if you do not know the author organization or group. You might get clues that point to organizations, government offices, research institutes, or companies who conduct research in other sources, like news articles, bibliographies in research articles, or from your exploration on the web.

As always, be aware of the intent of the author or organization in publishing the information and the quality of the information itself. Many organizations are inherently biased in that they are advocating for or against a specific cause. Research conducted by organizations, the government, or research institutes should be well documented.


Some tricks in Google to make finding research easier:

Use the site: search to limit specific domains, or specific websites.
For example, site: .org will search for websites that are in the .org domain. Adding extra terms will allow you to limit your search to .org or .gov websites that return your keywords. For example police body camera will look for those search terms only in pages in the .gov domain.

Use .pdf to look for .pdf files that return your keywords. Reports are often uploaded to webpages as .pdfs. This will work for any file extension.

Use extra keywords like policy, policy brief, research, report, study to aid in finding these types of documents.

Alternatively, you can use Google's advanced search feature to run these same searches.

Statistics and numbers