Finding Good Data Sources

Posted: January 29, 2012 in Uncategorized
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I feel like I’m close to having done a complete review of existing literature on my topic, or as complete as possible given the time constraints of this course. At this point I really want to move on to an analysis of raw data. But what am I even looking for, and where do I find it? These are questions that I’m currently trying to feel my way around.

I know that I need 1) interviews with pimps, data on the finance and operations of illegal brothels, and related information for my overall research. For one section of my paper, I would like to look at 2) how the forced prostitution industry compares and interacts with both legal and illegal (but voluntary) prostitution industries in different places. While it would be great if there were existing secondary sources that have already done this analysis, I would also like to find primary sources on pimps and brothels in the legal and illegal (but voluntary) prostitution industries.

I asked the GMU Global Affairs reference librarian for help with this and she pointed me to a couple of helpful sources, but also said that much of the information I’m looking for probably “isn’t out there.” Contrarily, I recently found a report published by the Indian government in 2003, in which researchers interviewed 412 Indian brothelowners about their business operations. This contained much of the data I was seeking, but only within the context of the Indian trafficking problem. I need similar data on several other countries to paint a full picture of the problem. Still, finding this report was an encouraging confirmation that the information I need is, indeed, “out there.”

I think I will try asking a reference librarian for another department for data sources. I am thinking about also taking a page from Paola’s book and setting up a research consultation at the Library of Congress. I still don’t know exactly what I’m looking for, but hopefully this will become clearer as I conduct more research.

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