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Find Data for Analysis

Popular sources for accessing research data sets for dissertations or class projects

Begin Your Research

Use this guide to identify data sources to use for data analysis projects in which you need to analyze some data with software such as Excel, SPSS, or Stata. In these cases, you typically need to use microdata, which is data on "the characteristics of units of a population such as individuals, households, or establishments, collected by a census, survey, or experiment" (OECD). 

Pages in this guide:

  • Get Important Tips & Tools - When you download data, you may need to unizip or uncompress files, register for an account, and/or convert file formats to use the data in your software (e.g., SPSS, Stata). Learn why and how to.
  • Cite Data - Learn best practices and see examples for various styles (APA, MLA, Chicago).

Related Guides

Below are additional sources for locating data. To access the library's online data, start with the following:

Library Websites:

Data Sources:  Best Places to Start
Data & Polls

Subject Guides:

Census and Demographic Data
Geospatial Data & GIS
Data and Statistics InfoGuides
Public Opinion Polls and Social Surveys

In addition to the InfoGuides with the "data" tag, look at the subject InfoGuides.  Many of the subject guides have information on where to locate statistics for the guide's respective subject area.  For example, the Economics InfoGuide has a section on places to find economic data.

Need ideas?

Need ideas for your analysis? Search ICPSR's Bibliography of Data-related Literature. This resource indexes research articles that have used ICPSR data sets in their analysis. If you find an article of interest, you can try to replicate the results.

Note: once you locate an article, you will need to search the library to check if it subscribes and to get to the full-text.

Datasets used in the articles are available through ICPSR.