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GNW's fact cache

  1. Dec 11, 2007 #1
    As someone who worked for 5 years in the reference section at a university library here are some GOOD non-partisan information sources that are free that we used all the time at the library to give kids a start on supplying high quality facts for their term papers. I'm just so sick of seeing random websites from all over the internet being used for "facts" to support claims. Here is a list of FREE sites with HIGH QUALITY INFO that anyone who is caught in a heated political debate should glance over for information and facts.

    http://www.fedstats.gov
    *best place to start
    http://www.cbo.gov/
    http://www.bea.gov/
    http://www.bls.gov/
    http://www.census.gov/
    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html
    http://www.cdc.gov/
    http://www.archives.gov
    http://www.loc.gov
    http://www.sec.gov
    http://www.nber.org/
    http://www.oecd.org/home/0,2987,en_2649_201185_1_1_1_1_1,00.html
    http://www.nationmaster.com/index.php *best place to start
    http://www.who.int/en/
    http://www.un.org/english/
    http://www.worldbank.org/
    http://portal.unesco.org/en/ev.php-URL_ID=29008&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html
    http://www.unicef.org/
    http://content.nejm.org/ (some free text available)
    http://jama.ama-assn.org/current.dtl (some free text)
    http://www.factcheck.org
    http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/#
    http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Main_Page (collection of text books. yes it can be edited, but most of the info is still pretty good).


    I will post more free sites with good info later.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 12, 2007 #2
    Nice collection, thanks.
     
  4. Dec 12, 2007 #3
    That's incredibly biased towards institutions, albeit they are all good information sources. In all practicality, I start first with Wikipedia, then move onto Google Scholar (also by # of citations), then look at various academic journals of interest. Yeah, I know these aren't free, but we're all students here. :) Government sites are great for statistical facts (like the census), but when you need discursive content they often very seldom help - because their policy analyses are ladened with "government issues" and are usually secondary research themselves.
     
  5. Dec 12, 2007 #4
    First off I have to limit the information sources listed based on if they are FREE or not. Many people on here are not students and are extremely limited when it comes to information that is accessible. The only things I will list are things that are FREE.

    So what is wrong with being biased towards info from institutions? Information from individual researchers and studies could be laden with biased slants and partisan conclusions. Institutions of non-partisan identity will be the fastest and easiest way to get good info for a start. It is almost impossible to list any journal sources because they aren't free.

    .Gov sources are quite possibly some of the best sources of info. Many of the .Gov entities are non-partisan like the CBO, Census Bureau, and FED. It depends on what you are looking at, many times government sites offer summary reviews on reports and testimonies that highlight important topics discussed and conclusions in a very condensed fashion instead of having to read through a 200 pg document. You just have to look in the right place. The government does primary research all the time, that is why entities like the BEA exist. Some of the documents on .gov sites might be secondary research, but a lot of times it is just a collation of previously primary researched topics by the same or just another government entity. The US government conducts primary research ALL THE TIME, don't be mistaken. In fact many of the references used in government studies can be easily found on other government websites.




    More sites I could think of off the top of my head:



    http://www.freemedicaljournals.com/

    http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/

    http://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/

    http://www.biomedcentral.com/ *another excellent place to start
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2007
  6. Dec 13, 2007 #5
    The problem with non-government institutions is that the publications are not peer-reviewed. For example, look at how many people praise a book blaming the holocaust on homosexuals. Many of them are from "institutions". There's nothing wrong with institutions, but there's something wrong with having no peer-review. I would much rather trust a publication from the NYT that has to go through the proper channels than a report from just anybody at a thinktank.
     
  7. Dec 13, 2007 #6
    1.) Most of the peer reviewed stuff you will find are only found in journals that aren't free which defeats the whole purpose of the thread.

    2.) The quality of info from an institution is based primarily on the institution's reputation. There is a BIG difference between the National Bureau of Economic Research and the one that you posted.

    3.) Peer review guarantees nothing. Remember the whole South Korean stem cell fraud that was published in Science?

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10589085/
     
  8. Dec 13, 2007 #7
    The point is that it was the fraud was eventually caught, I think, albeit not in the peer review process. I'm not saying peer review is perfect, but it's certainly better than most mainstream day-to-day stuff you encounter.
     
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