Where can I find data?

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Researchers obtain data in one of two ways: they either create their own data or collect data from prior events.

Creating Data: Most researchers in this category obtain their data by conducting controlled experiments. Researchers can control the nature of the data they obtain through the design of the experiment. Survey work and field studies are also forms of data creation, but these two methods are not as common in top-tier publications.

Collecting Data: This form of data acquisition is generally referred to as “archival data.” Researchers often access archival data through databases such as Compustat, Audit Analytics, etc. Most research universities have access to a variety of databases. Researchers sometimes obtain archival data by hand-collecting information from public sources, such as companies’ filings with the SEC or firm-issued press releases. Finally, researchers sometimes obtain archival data through private sources. Organizations sometimes release proprietary data for researcher purposes, but this type of data is usually difficult to obtain without some inside connection to the desired organization.

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