BUS 336: Data Analytics and Visualization

  This guide is designed to help you find the data you need so you can focus your efforts on analyzing & visualizing the trends and relationships. If you have any questions, please do contact the library. Use our Ask-a-Librarian services for the fastest answers. I'm also available, but note that my responses may be delayed, especially in the last month of the semester.

Good luck with your research!

Mark Bodnar
Business & Economics Librarian

Learning about Tableau, data analytics, and data visualization

Tableau: SFU Library guide to Tableau resources

  • Brief guide to videos, tutorials, ebooks, and more... all about Tableau!

Recent books (primarily online) on data visualizations & data analytics: Try this search of our catalogue to find hundreds of titles such as...  

LinkedIn Learning video tutorials (note that the SFU Library's LinkedIn Learning subscription is under review)

  • Many full video courses and short tutorials on both data visualization and data analytics

Sage Business Skills: includes a series of 14 interactive modules on Data Analytics Skills

  • The skills modules in this resource break complex and important workplace skills into small, engaging (even fun!) pieces. Data Analytics, for instance, includes subskills such as e.g., Visualizing Data and Demystifying Excel. See these blog posts for more on this resource.

Data sources

Parameters, Publishers, and Processes (7 min)

  • Save time by watching this video before you start your research! 
  • Outlines efficient & effective ways to think about a search for data. 
  • Highlights the need for clear-but-flexible goals and the non-linear nature of most data research efforts.

 Note the links to videos about some of the databases below. Invest a few minutes to learn tips & tricks that will save you far more time!

Passport: Statistics and analysis on global markets, economies, and consumers, with a primary focus on fast-moving consumer goods

S&P Capital IQ: data on global publicly traded companies, as well as commodities, indices, economic indicators, and much more.

Statista: Statistics portal integrating information from thousands of sources on a wide range of topics + a source for primary data on consumer goods, digital trends, and global mobility

  •  Watch Statista as a Data Source (8 min) to learn how to access data produced by Statista as well as how to use Statista to find possible 3rd-party data sources

IMD World Competitiveness Online: competitiveness rankings of 64 countries over many years, along with the hundreds of indicators used to calculate those rankings

Sage Data: millions of datasets from a wide range of sources, all searchable and chartable in a single interface

  •  Watch Sage Data as a Data Source (11 min) to learn how to find and download millions of datasets on a broad range of topics
  • Explore the Data Basics section of Sage Data for guidance on finding, evaluating, interpreting, and citing data

OECD iLIbrary - Statistics: 44 separate statistical databases on topics covering labour markets, tourism, R&D, and much more, all with a focus on the 38 OECD member countries.

Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR): A large archive of raw data collected by researchers and organizations in the social and behavioral sciences. The data files are not the analyzed findings of a study or trend statistics, but the raw data from which such statistics may be extrapolated

  • See the ICPSR's Resources for Students page for information on citing data, as well as online tutorials and their #NoStupidQuestions video series.
  • Also see their Help and User Guide.
  • Browse the ICPSR's thematic collections to get a sense of the range of the data it provides. See, especially, the OpenICPSR collection of data from studies conducted by academic researchers.
  • Before using any data from this resource, download and read any codebooks or other methodology/definition documentation to ensure that you understand the limitations of that specific dataset.

Abacus Data Network: Data files including Statistics Canada's Public Use Microdata Files (PUMFs) and much more. 

WRDS: General Access: Datasets in the fields of finance, accounting, and economics, such as Compustat (company financial data) CRSP (daily and monthly security prices & other historical security data related to over 29,000 US companies), and NYSE TAQ (millisecond-level security price data for US securities)

  • Access: Connect to WRDS via the library's link (above), then enter your SFU email at the WRDS site for a "Day Pass" to use WRDS
  • Content: SFU does not subscribe to all of the datasets available via WRDS
  • Assistance: Select Classroom or Videos on the top navigation bar within WRDS for many support resources including introductory videos. WRDS is a complex database: consider using S&P Capital IQ first

Canadian Financial Markets Research Centre Summary Information (CFMRC TSX): Detailed daily and monthly trading data for securities traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX)

Refinitiv Eikon and Datastream

  • Available on one terminal in each SFU Library branch. See this page for details on locations and access procedures.
  • Similar to S&P Capital IQ in that it provides company, stock market, commodity, and economic data, but Eikon also offers detailed ESG data, private equity/VC data, and more.

 Do not use the SFU Library's Bloomberg terminal to retrieve data for this course.

Bloomberg imposes strict limits on the amount of data that can be exported from the terminal. If those limits are exceeded, further downloading is completely blocked for all users. Consider the sources above instead, especially S&P Capital IQ and Refinitiv Eikon.

Beyond the SFU Library

 Data is increasingly available from a wide range of sources, far more than I can list in short guide! These are just a few that I've found to be useful in the past.




Intergovernmental organizations

FAOSTAT: Data related to food and agriculture around the world, provided by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 

IMF Data: The International Monetary Fund's statistical databases, including International Financial Statistics, Balance of Payment, Government Finance Statistics, and Direction of Trade Statistics. 

UNCTADstat: Collection of data relevant for the analysis of world trade, investment and development, compiled by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Coverage includes foreign direct investment; export and import structure by product and by regions of origin and destination; volumes and terms of trade indices; and commodity prices and relevant indices

UNdata: A compilation of United Nations and agency statistics, covering economic, social, financial and development topics.

World DataBank: Data on a variety of topics, produced by The World Bank. Includes the World Development Indicators (global time series data on economic, social, environmental, business, and technology topics), Gender Statistics, and more.


 This last category is a bit random... These are just a sample of the many free data sources and tools available to you. I may add to this section later in the term.

Lunaris: A Canadian discovery service for multidisciplinary data from research institutions and agencies across the country. Provides a single point of search for datasets from Canadian academic, government, and research repositories in a bilingual interface, with keyword and map-based searching

Pew Research Center: A "nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world." Focus is primarily on the USA, but extends to other countries in some cases. 

  • Download datasets: Pew makes its datasets openly available after a short delay. Registration (free) is required for access.

Google Dataset Search: Specialized search form designed to focus on dataset repositories. Use with care: some of the sources it indexes appear to either provide very little context on the data they offer (methodology, source, etc.), or are merely repackaged, and often outdated, collections of data from primary data producers such as the ones on this page. 

FRED: (US) Federal Reserve Economic Database: Nearly 530,000 U.S. and international datasets are generated by the Federal Reserve. Some examples include consumer price indexes, GDP, industrial production indexes, foreign exchange rates, and others. See also its older brother, ALFRED.

National Statistical Offices: You may have noticed that I didn't mention list Statistics Canada above. Their data appears in multiple other sources, such as Canada's Open Data Portal, Sage Data, and Abacus, so I decided to just group them in with broad advice to search the national statistical agency of any country. The link I've provided will take you to the UN's list of links to such agencies.

Citing & research assistance

Citing data sources

As many of you know from BUS 360W, every decision maker wants to be sure the information they are using to make a decision is good enough: reliable, recent, and relevant, and from a good authority. If you present them with information that does not clearly and accurately cite its sources, they can't make that evaluation, and they can't trust your information.

If you haven't done so already, watch my 3-part video series on citing (10 min total) to understand the importance of citing in a business context, and to understand the patterns that underlie the citation rules:

SFU Library has a guide with general advice on Citing a dataset or software. In addition, our library's guide to APA citations links out to the APA's own reference examples, with an entry on datasets. See also, UOttawa's guide to using APA 7th ed. to cite data sources. It mostly uses Statistics Canada sources in its examples, but you can extrapolate to other resources.

Sage Data includes a section called Data Basics, one part of which answers the question: "How do I cite my statistics?". It covers foundational details such as the fields required and how to identify them, and it provides examples of data citations in various formats, including APA. 

Many other databases will include details on how they think you should cite their resources (check each database's help pages). Their advice isn't always correct, but it should help you at least identify the elements (title, author, etc.) so you can make consistent decisions about how to fit them into a reference template.

Remember, though, that many sources won't exactly match the style templates. In such cases, identify the elements (again: title, author, etc.), and do your best to assemble them following the template's example, being sure to be both unambiguous and consistent across all of your citations so your reader (the decision maker) can identify, find (if necessary), and evaluate the resources you used. 

Research assistance

If you need help finding data, start by using our Ask-a-Librarian services. They will direct you to me if there doesn't appear to be a quick answer to your question. Be sure to check the videos above first, though, as the answers you need may be there!

Good luck with your research!

-- Mark

Mark Bodnar 
Economics & Business Librarian 
Email: mbodnar@sfu.ca 
BUEC Buzz blog