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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).

Start Using ICPSR

The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) maintains a social science data archive of more than 250,000 files of research in the social and behavioral sciences. It hosts 21 specialized collections of data in education, aging, criminal justice, substance abuse, terrorism, and other fields. ICPSR is an international consortium of nearly 800 academic institutions and research organizations. George Mason University has an institutional membership to ICPSR.

ICPSR FAQs - Use this quick reference to get answers to commonly asked questions.
Glossary of Social Science Terms - Look up the definitions of social science data terms.

ICPSR News - Get important updates from ICPSR.

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.

Video Tutorials & Webinars from ICPSR