This is the "Background and Investigative Reference Resources" page of the "Factual and Investigative Research" guide.
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Factual and Investigative Research  

Last Updated: Nov 15, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Learn More From Experts...

Gizmodo article: How To Find Anyone Online by David Neild offers some good tips and resources for finding people online.

Sometimes Google is not the be-all and end-all of search engines. Read about 13 alternative search engines that might find for you what Google cannot.

U.S. Government Data

    Official site for U.S. government open data, as well as tools for analysis, visualizations, and application development.
  • Census Bureau
    The leading source of quality data about the nation's people and economy.
  • Data by Subject guide via Rutgers Libraries
    The Data by Subject guide lists data resources appropriate to specific academic disciplines. It will continue to expand over time as new subjects are added. Currently, pages are available for: Criminal Justice, Economics, Political Science, and Social work.
  • Historical Weather Data
    Climate Data Online (CDO) provides free access to NCDC's archive of global historical weather and climate data in addition to station history information. These data include quality controlled daily, monthly, seasonal, and yearly measurements of temperature, precipitation, wind, and degree days as well as radar data and 30-year Climate Normals. Customers can also order most of these data as certified hard copies for legal use.

Other Fact Finding Guides

Freedom of Information

Note: even if you can request information, and many times when you do request information, you might still run in to red tape, bureaucracies and other like hurdles. Request the information anyway and be persistent. Sometimes, it’s worth picking up the phone or going in person.

  • Electronic Frontier Foudation Transparency Project
    Browse- and searchable collection of federal government documents obtained via the Freedom of Information Act
  • FOIA Online
    Guest users are welcome to submit requests, search for previously released records, and generate reports, but guests will have limited tracking and communications features. Enhanced features are available to users with accounts.
    Learn about the Freedom of Information Act, and learn how to request and obtain information.
  • provides electronic copies of thousands of interesting Federal Government documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
    iFOIA is a project of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. It allows registered users to create, send, maintain and share FOI requests at the state and federal level.
  • States' Public Records Laws & Exemptions via Muckrock
    a project to track every public records exemption in all 50 states - and provide the information needed to successfully overcome times when information is improperly denied.

Local Libraries' Resources

In the real world, if you cannot make it to an academic campus whose databases would be available for use at a public computer terminal, you might want to consider visiting a branch of the local library system. Often, they have subscriptions to databases that you may access from their own public computer terminals.

Archival Research

  • Google News Archive
    Browse by Newspaper. Content coverage differs by publisher. Approximate dates covered: 1900-2003.

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