Kristin A. Van Gaasbeck

Dept. of Economics | College of SSIS | Sacramento State
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ECON 145: Research Methods


General Sources (primary + secondary sources)
Other Databases (secondary sources)
Economics Journals and References
Writing and Citation Guides

Note, several of the databases, primary sources, and journals online require Library access. If you are trying to access these sites from an off-campus computer, you may need to log in through the Library in order to access this content. If you have difficulty logging in, you can always access these databases through the Library Databases and Periodicals Indexes. Be sure to carefully read through the Assignments and associated Supplements to make the best use of these resources.

General Sources

Primary and Secondary Sources

Census Bureau Demographic data available by zip code, and general statistics including population data and foreign trade data.
Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) Major U.S. macroeconomic indicators, such as GDP, capital stock, expenditures (consumption, investment, etc), national income, and government budget data.
Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Employment and price (inflation) data, such as the CPI, unemployment rate, and productivity data. This site includes access to important microeconomic data such as the National Longitudinal Surveys.
Federal Reserve System U.S. financial data including interest and exchange rates, money supply and reserves, bank balance sheet information, household assets and liabilities, and corporate debt.
Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) Longitudinal study of a representative sample of U.S. families. Includes data on poverty status, public assistance, labor market, socioeconomic background, and health.
California Department of Education Includes links to Data Quest and Ed-Data: state-, county-, district-, and school-level data on school performance and student characteristics.
California Department of Finance Includes links to the annual California Statistical Abstract and DOF Special Reports: state- and county-level economic and financial data, as well as county profiles and information on the state budget and
Energy Information Adminstration (EIA) State, national, and international energy data.
Department of Homeland Security State and national immigration statistics.

Other Databases

Secondary Sources

Federal Reserve Economics Database (FRED) Provides historical U.S. economic and financial data, including daily U.S. interest rates, monetary and business indicators, exchange rates, and balance of payments.
STAT-USA Point of access to authoritative business, trade, and economic information from across the federal government.
Counting California Easy access to a variety of federal, state, and local data, compiled from a variety of sources. An excellent place to start when looking for California regional, county, and city-level data.
RAND California Includes state-level, and California city- and county-level data in a variety of categories (e.g., demographic, education, macroeconomic).
White House Economics Statistics Briefing Room Easy access to current economic indicators provided by a number of federal agencies.
Economic Indicators Up-to-date economic data from the the U.S. Department of Commerce. This source also include calendars with release dates for key economic statistics.
Country Watch Country-level data, including demographic, political, economic, business, cultural and environmental information, and macroeconomic forecasts.
International Monetary Fund Includes: (1) World Economic Outlook Database (complementing the IMF's biannual survey of world economic conditions) and (2) International Financial Statistics (macroeconomic, international, and domestic financial data for IMF member countries).
Penn World Tables Annual data for countries on macroeconomic and related aggregates, useful for cross-country comparisons.
Economagic Contains recent commonly-requested time series statistics. Free access has formatting that makes the data difficult to use.

Economics Journals and References

All of the search engines below use the JEL Code classification system for searches (in addition to standard searches by keyword, author, etc.) When doing article searching, please be sure to use ECONLit - this is the best way to insure that you do a comprehensive search of the literature on your topic. Within ECONLit, you can use the "Find It" feature to locate a particular article through the Library.

Search Engines in Economics
(for literature review search)
The following links directly to the Library Databases and Periodicals Indexes where you can access these resources.
ECONLit Comprehensive search engine for research in economics. This database does not include direct, full-text access, but most articles are linked to full text access.
Social Sciences Citation Index Tracks citations of published papers. This database allows one to find the most recent work in a subject, using an individual paper as a starting point. Please review the User Guide if you have difficulty using the SSCI.
Resources for Economists A general guide to Internet resources of interest to academic and practicing economists, and those interested in economics. Includes access to the Economics Search Engine - a sort of Google for economics resources.
Full-Text Access to Economics Research (access to research papers for literature review)
If you have problems accessing these links, please go to the Library Databases and Periodicals Indexes where you can access these resources. If you accessing these resources from off-campus, you will need to authenticate your student status by logging in to the Library home page using your saclink username and password.
JSTOR General journals and top field journals. Includes access journals that publish survey articles in economics: the Journal of Economic Literature and the Journal of Economic Perspectives.
ScienceDirect Large number of economics journals, both general and field-specific.
Berkeley Electronic Press Publisher of online research and popular articles in economics.
National Bureau of Economic Reseach (NBER) Working papers in Economics by prominent researchers.
Social Science Research Network (SSRN) Working papers in Economics.
General Print References (encyclopedia-type references for summaries particular economic concepts and subjects)
These books are available in the Library Reference Collection on 2 North. The links below direct you to the Library catalog. These resources are a great place to get started with your research.
Economist's Handbook: A Research and Writing Guide by Thomas Wyrick Similar to Greenlaw, S., Doing Economics: A Guide To Understanding and Carrying Out Economic Research. It is more comprehensive, but less up-to-date (last printed in 1994). Use the Wyrick handbook if you are having difficulty understanding ideas and concepts from the Greenlaw handbook, especially with respect to writing.
New Palgrave: a Dictionary of Economics
Full, up-to-date bibliographies accompany the essays. Adequate cross-references, useful appendixes, and detailed indexing.
I have the more recent 2005 edition in my office, in case you have trouble locating a particular subject in the 1987 edition from the library's copy.

Encyclopedia of Political Economy

Similar to New Palgrave's, this reference is more interdisciplinary in nature, focusing on political economy.
Encyclopedia of Economics Similar to New Palgrave's, but less comprehensive.
Encyclopedia of American Economic History Similar to New Palgrave's, focusing on subjects from American economic history.


California State University, Sacramento Campus library that includes access to the resources above.
MELVYL Catalog for University of California libraries and California State Library.
California Digital Library General library catalog,
Library of Congress When in doubt, try looking here for the call number of a particular resource.


You can access full-text articles from the following through Lexis-Nexus. Most of these sources have weekly podcasts available on iTunes.

Sacramento Bee
Los Angeles Times
New York Times
Washington Post

The Economist
Financial Times
Business Week

There are numerous Internet resources for those interested in Economics. The following are those I've found them to be the most accessible for undergraduates:
Marketplace (via NPR)
Everyday Economics
(via Slate)
The Undercover Economist (via Slate)
Aplia Blog - news for economics students
Econbrowser - analysis of current economic conditions and policy
New Economist - commentary on new economic research, news, and analysis

Writing and Citation Guides

Most of these guides are provided by the Library. You should regularly check supplements for this course for more detailed information throughout the semester.
APA Style Guide Citations in your paper and in your annotated bibliography should follow the APA format. You can view more information on the Wikipedia entry on APA style and at
Annotated Bibliography How to assemble an annotated bibliography. Include references that you may use as a template.
Literature Review General steps for conducting a literature review. Has information on distinguishing popular from scholarly resources, and some general steps you can take to insure you complete a comprehensive review of the literature on your subject.
Writing in Economics My general resources on writing in economics, for undergraduates and graduate students.


@2007 Kristin Van Gaasbeck | Department of Economics | 6000 J Street | Sacramento, CA 95819-6082 | 916.278.6223