The right political data and data strategy can make a big difference for an election campaign or political advocacy group. Actionable political data can come in many different forms and from a number of different sources. At Aristotle, we are the industry leader in data solutions for campaigns, political action committees (PACs), and grassroots political advocacy organizations. Our team has the experience that you need to make a difference.
There are also a number of different free political data sources available for campaigns and advocacy groups that are doing research on key political matters and public policy issues. Google Dataset Search is a relatively new tool that Google launched to help connect researchers with the right data. In this article, you will find an overview of Google Dataset Search and guidance for how to use it for political data research.
What Is Google Dataset Search?
Google is the dominant search engine. According to Statista, approximately 90 percent of worldwide search inquiries were conducted by Google in 2021. Beyond the main search engine tool, the Silicon Valley giant also offers some specialized search options, including Google Dataset Search. In September of 2018, Google released the beta version of Dataset Search. The full version was released to the public in January of 2020.
Google Dataset Search is a tool designed and developed for the needs of data scientists and other data researchers. It exists as a complimentary search tool to Google Scholar, which is for academics and other researchers. The key distinguishing feature of Google Dataset Search is that it has the ability to filter results based on desired types of data. This makes it easier for people and organizations to conduct in-depth, data-focused research.
The scope is huge. There are more than 25 million datasets. While Google DataSet Search is proprietary—meaning the company has not disclosed the precise source code—we do know that the tool relies heavily on the metadata provided by researchers and research organizations. In effect, Google DataSet Search can comb through vast amounts of metadata and filter different types of dataset—thereby making it far easier for researchers to find the specific data that they need.
Note: Google Dataset Search is a free tool. You can run an unlimited number of searches through this tool at no cost. However, doing so on your own can be extremely complicated to navigate and also incredibly time-consuming.
Aristotle provides a user friendly, cost-effective alternative, as our data can be accessed instantly, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you’re looking for a way to get your hands on the data you need, quickly, visit https://vlo2.voterlistsonline.com/user/signup.aspx to create a free account and get started!
How to Use Google’s Dataset Search Tool: A Brief Guide
Working with a new data tool can be intimidating, even with the user friendly interface that a company like Google offers. The good news is that using Google Dataset Search to find free research data is relatively straightforward. Here are five things to know about using the Google Dataset Search tool:
- Open the Search Engine: You can find Google Dataset Search at https://datasetsearch.research.google.com/. As you will see when you click the link, the initial interface for Google Dataset Search is very similar to the interface for Google’s everyday search tool.
- Run an Inquiry: Google Dataset Search is a type of natural language search. This means that you can run a search using natural language keywords. For example, imagine that you are interested in the 2020 election results in Florida. You could start by searching “Florida election results 2020.”
- Look at the Results (Left Side of the Page): When you run your search, you will get the results on the left side of the page. You should expect far fewer than the millions of results you typically get when you run a search using Google’s main search engine. The reason is that these are well-refined datasets. They are limited results that have been published by researchers. For example, the inquiry “Florida election results 2020” returns 12 different datasets. You can click on any one of the results on the left side of the page to get more information.
- Review the Details of a Dataset: In the “Florida election results 2020” example, the first dataset is Florida’s electoral votes in U.S. presidential elections 1848-2020 from Statisa.com. By clicking on this result on the left side of the Google Dataset Search page, you will get comprehensive information on the right two-thirds of your screen. Among other things, the information includes: The date that the dataset was uploaded, the author of the dataset, the area covered by the dataset (Florida), and qualitative metadata description as provided by the author.
- Access, Explore, and/or Download the Dataset: When you find a dataset that meets your needs or that you are otherwise interested in, you can access, explore, and potentially download the data through the Google Dataset Search tool. What exactly this entails depends on the specific nature and form of the dataset as uploaded by the original party. For example, with the first result in our example, you can go directly to Statista.com to review the dataset in question (Florida’s electoral votes in U.S. presidential elections 1848-2020). The second search result (2020 Precinct-Level Election Results) was originally uploaded to the Harvard Dataverse tool. Harvard Dataverse is another free tool. The dataset 2020 Precinct-Level Election Results can be downloaded in its entirety for free from Harvard Dataverse.
Free political data tools, including Google Dataset Search, can be immensely valuable. At the same time, sifting through vast amounts of research data may not be the best use of your time. At Aristotle we connect federal and state election campaigns and other political organizations with the data that they need to achieve their goals, including our National Voter File, National Consumer File, National Donor File, and much more.
Aristotle Sets the Industry Standard in Political Data
Aristotle is a gold standard industry leader in political data. We have the most accurate and comprehensive voter data, donor data, and consumer data. All of our data is available for instant download, 24/7/365. If you have questions about political data, we are here as a resource. Call us now or contact us online to learn more about our political data or campaign management services.