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Data Services: ICPSR

What is ICPSR?



ICPSR is the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research.  As a consortium, it is an organization of more than 750 member institutions that provides leadership and training in data access, curation, and methods of analysis for social science research.  Educational activities include a yearly Summer Program in Quantitative Methods of Social Research.

ICPSR also maintains a data archive of more than 250,000 files of research.  This is the world's largest accessible archive of social science data.    The data cover topics such as sociology, political science, history, and economics, with special emphasis on gerontology, substance abuse and mental health, criminal justice, child care, health and medical care, education, and demography.

These data files include not just summaries and time-series data but also raw data such as individual survey responses, allowing you to analyze the data for additional information.

Miami University Libraries has an institutional membership in ICPSR, allowing you to download and use this data in your research.

What kinds of data can I find?

  • Public opinion polls, surveys of mass and elite attitudes, election returns, legislative records, census records, international financial statistics, income dynamics, and social welfare program participation, among others.
  • Important data sets include the American National Election Study, the Quality of Employment Survey, the Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, and Plea Bargaining in the United States.

Searching ICPSR

  • You can enter multiple words to find all of your search terms, but there are some caveats.
    • Phrases must be in quotes.
    • Separate terms with commas to search for study variables
  • The minus sign can be used to exclude terms, but results may be inconsistent.

ICPSR - Access and General Information

General Information

How Do I Access the Site?  Does Miami University have a link?

Miami University has membership with ICPSRThat allows students, faculty, and staff to access and use its resources and download data from the site.

Are there limitations to the use of the data? 

To access ICPSR data, you must Create a New Account with ICPSR.  Users agree not to distribute data to non-members, use it ethically, cite their source data appropriately, and provide ICPSR with a copy of any new research based on data already in the archive.

How do I get to the data? 

ICPSR data may be downloaded directly from the ICPSR website, or in some cases, Web-based extraction and analysis tools are also available.  Use the search box in the bottom center to search for data sets by keyword or, if known, study number.

It's a very good idea to download a study's documentation and the codebook and read it before downloading the data itself. 

What Data Formats are available? 

The data in the ICPSR system can be in several formats.  Some include:

  • Text
  • CSV (Comma Separated Values)
  • SAS
  • SPSS
  • Stata
  • R
  • Excel

This is not a full list, but you can see there are many formats that can be accessed for data.  Many data sets have access to several formats as well. 

Online ICPSR Resources

ICPSR has a number of resources on their site for students and others that work with their data: