ICPSR Overview and Access Information

What is ICPSR?

ICPSR (Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research) is a large data archive available via subscription. Hundreds of social science data sets are available for downloading; coverage includes but is not limited to the U.S. Census, crime and criminal justice, foreign and national opinion polls, health, consumer surveys, and historical data sets. Users may search by keyword or browse by subject.

Please note that the data sets are intended for researchers with prior experience working with statistics and statistical analysis.

How do I use it?

The ICPSR data sets are digitally archived at the University of Michigan and may be accessed at the University of Michigan ICPSR Archives site from campus.

When using this collection, please note that some of the ICPSR data sets are formatted for SPSS; however, many are not. If an appropriate data set is identified from the archive, experienced data users may directly download the data via an on-campus computer.(due to server restrictions, data may not be downloaded from off-campus). Researchers new to working with large data sets, however, are encouraged to contact Jim Burke, Instructional Technology Consultant or Bryan Goodwin, Reference Librarian, to request a data sets from the Michigan site. In your request, please include the title of the data set and ICPSR study # in your message. Allow 1-2 weeks for such requests, as many of the data sets will need to be formatted for SPSS. Codebooks for the individual data sets are also available electronically on the ICPSR web pages or, if preferred, in print through Interlibrary Loan.

The statistical software package SPSS is installed in the computer labs in Dwight and Carr for use with the data sets; faculty and staff interested in having SPSS loaded on their machines may place a request with Jim Burke.

For faculty: ICPSR also has a growing number of teaching modules available for use in your classroom.

A few things to remember

  • ICPSR data sets may not be shared with individuals from non-member institutions.
  • Researchers need to cite ICPSR in resulting publications; the abstract for each data set should have "citation" field that provides necessary bibliographic information.
  • ICPSR would appreciate receiving notification of publications utilizing ICPSR data.