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Research Guides

ICPSR: Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research

MSU is a member of ICPSR, the world's largest social science database archive. This guide provides an introduction to ICPSR and local MSU support resources.

Searching ICPSR for Data Sets

ICPSR supports several search functions that allow the user to sort through archived data sets.  The archive provides access to more than 50,000 digital files covering subjects such as political science, policy studies, sociology, demography, economics, health, terrorism, education, substance abuse, psychology, law, and much more.  In addition to the basic search, users may browse the archive by topic, geography, principle investigator, series, and recent additions.

Analyzing ICPSR Data Online

In the past, users were required to download ICPSR datasets and use statistical packages such as SPSS or SAS to analyze the data.  Selected data sets now allow for users to analyze ICPSR data with the Survey Document Analysis (SDA) system.  SDA allows users to conduct statistical analysis on the Internet using their web browser. A wide range of statistical analyses may be performed but it is not as extensive as the options found in most statistical packages.  Note that only a subset of ICPSR data sets are accessible using this analysis method.

Downloading Data

Some data sets are restricted to members of ICPSR member institutions (MSU is a member).  To download a data set, you must first be logged into your MyData account.  The following steps outline common tasks when downloading data:

  1. Identify the relevant data set using the search or browse function.
  2. Select the desired data format.
  3. Use the "Add Files" option to add the data file to your "data cart".
  4. Select the option to download your data.