Sources of Data to Build Your Argument

Citing authoritative sources in your proposal can greatly improve your chances of being funded. Data, statistics, and respected voices in the field will be your best means of persuasion. Multiple current and convincing sources of data will strengthen your argument. Some of the key sources for such data searches are listed below:

Federal Sources

Citations from federal studies have an inherent authenticity that appeals to many donors. Regardless of discipline, most researchers and writers can make use of the following sites:

  • is the most authoritative statistical portal. You can search for and find statistics spanning all topics.
  • contains data and statistics on several topics pulled from federal agencies, state and local governments, and several major institutions of higher education.
  • The Bureau of Labor and Statistics is the principal fact-finding agency for the Federal Government in the broad field of work economics and statistics.
  • The National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics is the nation’s leading data source for science and engineering studies.
  • The Department of Education has a large collection of statistical information pertaining to education.
  • PubMed is a research warehouse for nearly all medical studies conducted within the U.S.
  • All of the 26 federal funding agencies, such as the Department of Justice and the Department of Agriculture, hold a wealth of data within their individual websites.
  • The National Archives and Records Administration provides access to archives and historical records. Historians and librarians will greatly benefit from this site.

Multilateral Organizations

Multilateral organizations are a great source of information on national and international areas such as in health, economics, geosciences and education. The following sites are just a few of the major resources:

Medical and Scientific Research

The most authoritative place to begin looking for data and resources for medical research is the National Institute of Health (NIH) site. For scientific research, it is the National Science Foundation (NSF). In addition, the following resources provide further statistics for some disciplines:

Social Sciences Research

Social scientists should make use of mixed method research. Both qualitative and quantitative data can be found at the following sites:

To have any chance of being funded you must always start with an important idea. Once you have that, citing authoritative previous research and data to demonstrate the completeness, legitimacy, and accuracy of your idea will greatly increase that chance. The resources listed above are only the some of the countless available, but they should provide an excellent start while writing your proposal.

Mathilda Harris

Over the past 18 years, she has written grants, conducted capital campaigns, developed strategic plans for grant procurement, and assisted individuals and institutions to write winning proposals for various donors.

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