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Finding & Using Data from ICPSR: Save Time with these Tips

Guidance for locating and using data from the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research

Tip 1: Read the Summary

Read the summary. This will provide valuable information that will help you determine if the study is a good choice for your particular assignment

Tip 2: Read the Codebook

Read the Codebook. It has useful information about how the data were collected and organized. Look at the Questionnaire. What were the investigators asking and trying to analyze?  Make sure the datasets are in formats that are compatible with the statistical software package you are using. Also, for many, but not all datasets, online analysis using SDA is available. How to Use a Codebook (via Princeton University) has instructions that explain what information you should look for when using a codebook

Strategies Summary

You Have/Know... You Want Start Here
General topic area Ideas of students that might work, work that others have done Thematic collections, general search, bibliography
Info about the study (PI, title) To find that study! General search
Variables/questions of interest A study containing those questions, example of question wording for creating a survey, frequency distributions Search/Compare Variables (Social Science Variable Database)
The study of interest Variables included, what has been done with it, methodology info Study homepage
The study of interest To know if the subgroup in which you are interested in is large enough

Codebook, online analysis

That you want to use data in class Something students can use online View all studies for which online analysis is available
A journal publication To replicate the study or results Replication datasets, OpenICPSR

From: The ICPSR Workshop Discover and Use Data for Analysis & Publishing (June 2017)