COLWRIT 8: English as a Second Language

Finding Local Census Data

The United States Census is an official population survey conducted every ten years, as mandated by the US Constitution.  The Census Bureau also conducts other surveys during the years between the decennial ("every 10 years") census counts.

Much of the data from the 2000 and 2010 censuses, along with a lot of other data, is available online at the Census Bureau web site.

To find local information:  start with the Census Bureau web site.  Under "Quick Facts", pull down the "select a state" menu to California.  Note that two columns of data are listed, comparing California with the United States as a whole.

On the California data page, pull down the "Select a City" menu to a specific city, such as Berkeley.  Note that two columns of data are listed, comparing Berkeley with California as a whole.

Also note the link:   "Want more?  Browse data sets for (name of state or city)."

Sometimes a city will use Census data to create reports with more detail, such as this one for San Francisco neighborhoods.

Searching the Internet - Tips

Think about who might create the source you're looking for:  a goverment?  (which country, state, county, city, etc.?)  a business?  a non-profit?  an individual? a news source?  social media site?

Would it be useful to search certain types of sites:  Wikipedia,, Tripadvisor, Yelp, etc.?

Think about search terms:

- use alternative terms when necessary (statistics san francisco; population san francisco)

- add place names as needed:              japanese americans
                                                              japanese americans san francisco

- add other terms to narrow down results:    history japanese americans san francisco

- take out terms if necessary:                 businesses catering to LGBT community
                                                               businesses LGBT community

- look around for useful terms to use:     directory businesses LGBT san francisco




And When You Find It...Evaluate It!

You already know that you should evaluate anything you find on the Internet.  Here are some reminders of what to look for.

Why Can't I Just Use Google?

If you want to use Google for research, use Google Books or Google Scholar.

Use the Advanced Search for more searching options.

Please note that Google Books search results do not necessarily include the full text of the book; some include no text at all, some include a limited preview (only some pages of the book).

When you use Google Scholar, make sure to update your Scholar Preferences (see below) so you'll be able to use UC e-links to find the UC Berkeley library locations/online availability of the articles.

Step 1: If you haven't already done this, set up your proxy server access by following the directions at When you get to a point where you are accessing resources that the Library pays for, you will be prompted for your CalNet ID and password. For more help see:

Step 2: Change your “Scholar Preferences.” Access these by clicking on the small icon in the upper right of the screen.

Step 3: In search box next to "Library Links," type in University of California Berkeley and click on “Find Library”

Step 4: Check all the boxes next to "University of California Berkeley"

Step 5: Click on "Save Preferences" at bottom of page

Selected Web Pages related to the University

Last Update: September 12, 2013 11:09