Searching for Data

Besides scientific articles and other literature, which you mostly find in databases and search engines, it is absolutely recommendable to search for data on portals developed by different organisations and governments. If your thesis concerns water and sanitation, why not go straight to International Water and Sanitation Centre, IRC, in the Netherlands, who are actually the specialist on that subject? It will probably give you a more effective search result than Google Scholar.

Another advantage of searching at the source itself, is that published journal articles usually only contain some extracted results of the research findings rather than the data itself, although a link to the data may be provided in the article.

For  you inspiration you can take a look at the list of sites below where you can find publically available data:

Statistical Data:
European Statistics
Danish Statistics
American Statistics
African Statistics 

Disaster Management
The International Disaster Database
Disaster Data Portal
The International Disaster Database
Disaster Data Portal
The UN Refugee Agency

Further ideas for portals relevant for international health subjects:
WHO EURO databases
WHO global databases
European Municipal health profiles
OECD health data
European Commission health indicator system
European Union information upon public health
US Center for disease control and prevention databases
IARC databases on cancer
Demographic and health survey  – The link contains a lot of demographic and health information on different countries, they can be ordered without expenses when the research question is named.
Dansk Data Arkiv
IQSS – The Institute for Quantitative Social Science, Harvard University. Here it is an advantage to know the “author’s” name.

DataCite – a page where you can search for good repositories



  • You should always check the site for terms of use and for user manuals and support that can help you find and use the data you are interested in.
  • Ask your supervisor and fellow students about which portals they would use for searching in your case.


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Get a comprehensive list of and inspiration on where to find more data on public and global health. Created by The Copenhagen School of Global Health, University of Copenhagen.