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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

To access data in a ready-to-use table or to look up a statistic, use our companion to this guide:

Find Data & Statistics: Best Places to Start

Below are additional resources for locating data:

All Data & Statistics Subject Guides

Data & Statistics Guides by Topic or Types

List of Libraries' Data & Statistics Recommended or Subscription Sources

Popular Topics

Census & Demographic Data

Geospatial Data & GIS

Public Opinion Polls & Social Surveys

Text & Data Mining Sources

U.S. Elections

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 Publications. 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.