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Find/Use Data: ICPSR

Learn how to find and use data from the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR).

Digital Scholarship Center

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Wendy Mann
Director, Digital Scholarship Center (DiSC)
2703 Fenwick Library
Fairfax Campus
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Subjects: Data & Statistics

Start Using ICPSR

Search the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) social science data archive's more than 500,000 files of research in the social, behavioral, and health sciences. ICPSR is an international consortium of over 700 academic institutions and research organizations. George Mason University has an institutional membership to ICPSR.

If you are using ICPSR for the first time:

You will be asked to login with your ICPSR MyData account when you are downloading a dataset.

  • You can search for datasets without logging in. Even if you are accessing the ICPSR site from on campus, or have logged in through the library website, you will still be asked to login to ICPSR using your MyData account. One feature of the account is that it keeps track of past datasets you've downloaded. You need to agree to ICPSR's terms of use before you can download a dataset.

The ICPSR search box is the quickest way to get started. Use the search box to search for studies (data), variables, and publications.

  • Search by the name of the study, the principle investigator, study number, keyword, subject, etc. 
  • Many studies allow you to do basic analysis through the web browser. This feature is useful if you don't have access to software, want to examine the data, or create a subset of the data.
  • Browse for datasets by:
  • Use filters listed in the margin of the search results page to refine your search results.
  • Use the Thesaurus to access ICPSR's controlled vocabulary.

Data-Related Publications is a continuously-updated database of thousands of citations of works using data held in the ICPSR archive.

This is a helpful search if you really are not sure what type of dataset you're interested in. You can perform a keyword search to look for articles that have used ICPSR studies. You can read the article to understand how the study was used, and then get the information you need to access the study.

The bibliography does not contain full-text articles. You will need to search the libraries' subscriptions to get to the full-text of articles cited in this bibliography.