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Research Guides

Introduction to Comparative Government, Gov 1400: Home

Gov 1400, Fall 2016

Professor: Emily Clough

Librarian: Barbara Levergood

Why can't I find data on [topic] for [country]?

Reason #1: The data are available, but you haven't found it because ...

... you are looking in the wrong place. Data are not always easy to find. Next step: Consult with your professor or a librarian for assistance.

Reason #2: The data are not available because they were not collected because ...

... none of the usual sources of statistical data (national, sub-national, international, non-governmental, commercial, scholars) had the incentive or resources to do so.

... the country is/was not yet a country with the needed governmental institutions to collect and process the data. Next step: Perhaps another institution collected the data or made estimates; consult with your professor or a librarian for assistance.

... the country did not have the resources needed to collect and process the data. Next step: Perhaps another institution collected the data or made estimates; consult with your professor or a librarian for assistance.

Reason #3: The data are not available, although they were collected, because ...

... they have been destroyed or lost.

... they are nearly impossible to access. Next step: After consulting with your professor or a librarian, consult with the likely source of the data.

Strategies for searching for statistical data

  • Strategy 1. Start with a finding aid. (this guide, ProQuest Statistical Insight)
  • Strategy 2. Start with a statistical compendium. Details
  • Strategy 3. Start with an agency or organization. Details
  • Strategy 4. Look for relevant statistics reported in journal or newspaper articles. Find the source of those statistics in the table notes, foot/endnotes, or bibliography.
  • Strategy 5. Search the Internet using your favorite search engine.

Country overviews



  • Polity IV Individual Country Regime Trends, 1946-2013. "Annual Polity scores have been plotted for each of the 167 countries currently covered by the Polity IV data series for the period 1946-2013 (trend graphs are also included with the Polity IV 2010 Country Reports). This version of the Polity Country Trend graphs display periods of "factionalism" and important Polity change events, including autocratic backsliding, executive auto-coup or autogolpe, revolution, collapse of central authority (state failure), and successful military coups."
  • Freedom House. "Freedom in the World, Freedom House’s flagship publication, is the standard-setting comparative assessment of global political rights and civil liberties. Published annually since 1972, the survey ratings and narrative reports on 195 countries and 14 related and disputed territories are used by policymakers, the media, international corporations, civic activists, and human rights defenders to monitor trends in democracy and track improvements and setbacks in freedom worldwide." Bowdoin holds this publication in print 1978-1992 (with gaps), Main JC571 .F66.
  • The Worldwide Governance Indicators, World Bank, "reports aggregate and individual governance indicators for over 200 countries and territories over the period 1996–2015, for six dimensions of governance: Voice and Accountability, Political Stability and Absence of Violence, Government Effectiveness, Regulatory Quality, Rule of Law, [and] Control of Corruption". New
  • Fragile States Index, The Fund for Peace, 2005-
  • According to the World Bank, the first list of fragile situations "was compiled in fiscal year 2006 and has gone through a series of changes in terms of classification from the Low Income Countries Under Stress List (LICUS) (2006-2009), to the Fragile States List (2010) to the now Harmonized List of Fragile Situations (2011-2015)." See the Information Note for the history of the classifications and notes related to comparability. New
  • Data and statistics, International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA)

Social, economic

Statistical information


Barbara Levergood
Bowdoin College
H-L Library, Office 110B
3000 College Station
Brunswick, Maine 04011-8421
fax: 207-725-3083
Website / Blog Page


Journal articles

  • Use one of the following, all available from "Articles and Databases" on our front page.
    • Academic Search Complete (multidisciplinary)
    • Worldwide Political Science Abstracts (Political Science)
    • ProQuest Political Science (Political Science)
    • PAIS International (originally Public Affairs Information Service) (Political Science)
    • America: History and Life (U.S. and Canada) or Historical Abstracts (elsewhere) (History)

News sources

General resources