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Find Data for Analysis

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

Common Issues

What kind of file(s) do I have? Look at the file extension. Starting from the top, find the first row that is for any of your files. 

If you have one of these... File Type What to do
.zip, .tar, .gz Zip File Unzip it, see the tab for instructions
.sav, .dta, .sas7bdat, rda, .rdata Data formatted for a specific software Find instructions for the software you have.
.sps, .do, .dct, .sas, .R Setup Files See the tab for instructions
.xls, .xlsx, .ods Excel File Open in Excel or any statistical software
.csv, .tsv Delimited Text Files Open in Excel or any statistical software
.txt, .dat Unknown Text Files Look at the documentation
.xml, .json Other Structured Files Look at the documentation

Files are compressed, or zipped, to save storage space and/or to bundle several files together. These are the most common extensions for this kind of file. 

.zip Files

Even though you can see what is in the .zip file, you must unzip the file before you can open the individual files in the archive.

.tar, .gz, or .tar.gz Files

  • Mac - double-click the file. 
  • Windows - you will need to have software such as Win-Zip, PeaZip or 7-zip (instructions)

Setup Files

In some cases, you will need to download data in ASCII (text) format and use a setup file (typically .sps, .do or .sas) to get it into your software. 

Many statistical packages will not run a set-up file unless you reset the Windows default setting that hides file extensions.

Converting Files (SPSS, Stata, SAS, R)

What software do you want to use?

SPSS or SAS

Both SPSS and SAS can open from and save files to SPSS, Stata, and SAS without additional steps. 

Stata

  • from SPSS: On Windows, you can use usespss in Stata (see tab).
  • from SAS: For SAS Transport files (.xpt), use import sasxport.
  • Alternatively, you can use Stat/Transfer or R. See tabs in this box for more info.

Stat/Transfer

The Digital Scholarship Center (DiSC) has a software called Stat/Transfer that can convert files from one software to another.

  • Email datahelp@gmu.edu for assistance with accessing this software or converting your file.
  • Stat/Transfer is also available in the Van Metre Hall computer lab (Arlington Campus).

SPSS to Stata: Using Stata

Best option, but WINDOWS ONLY

1. Open Stata on a Windows computer

2. In the command window, submit the below syntax;

set more off
net from http://radyakin.org/transfer/usespss/beta
net install usespss
usespss


3. Select the SPSS .sav file in the dialog box that will pop up. 

4. Save the data file [in Stata format]

SPSS to Stata: Using R

1. Download the installation file from CRAN ( pdf with details )

2. Install then open R  ( screenshots )

3. At the prompt (>), paste the following lines and press enter,

library(foreign)
file <- file.choose() 
spss <- read.spss(file)
data <- as.data.frame(spss)
attr(data,"var.labels") <- as.vector(attr(spss,"variable.labels"))
write.dta(data, sub('.sav','.dta',file))


4. Select the SPSS .sav file in the dialog box that will pop up.

5. Look for the Stata (.dta) file in the same directory. 

Notes:

  • User Missing values are kept as is and not converted to Stata missing values.
  • String variables are "encoded" into labeled numeric variables.
  • String variables with labels do not transfer properly. 

SAS to Stata: Using R

1. Download the installation file from CRAN ( pdf with details )

2. Install then open R  ( screenshots )

3. At the prompt (>), paste the following lines and press enter,

install.packages("haven")
library(haven)
file <- file.choose() 
sas <- read_sas(file)
write_dta(sas, sub('.sas7bdat','.dta',file))


4. Select the SAS .sas7bdat file in the dialog box that will pop up.

5. Look for the Stata (.dta) file in the same directory.