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Government Information Resources: ICPSR

What is ICPSR?

The University of Akron is a member of the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR). UA students, faculty, and staff have access to ICPSR's data archive, which includes more than 500,000 files of research in the social sciences. ICPSR also conducts educational activities and sponsors research in the social sciences.

The ICPSR Official Representative for The University of Akron is Shelley Blundell, Education/Instructional Design Librarian, Visiting Associate Professor of Bibliography.

Additional Resources for Data Users

Getting Started with ICPSR

ICPSR provides a New User Tutorial and a list of Frequently Asked Questions to help you get started. There is also a searchable video tutorial archive for more advanced questions. 

Starting with the Find and Analyze Data portal, search by keyword or browse by topic. Before you download datasets, you must read and agree to the terms of use.

  • Some datasets are freely accessible, and can be simply downloaded in an available format, which may include plain text, SAS, SPSS, and Stata. Not all files are available in all formats.
  • Some datasets require access through the institutional membership. Users accessing ICPSR from the UA main campus will be automatically recognized; off-campus users should use the UA proxy link for ICPSR. Once authenticated, create a MyData account or sign in with a Google or Facebook account.
  • Certain datasets are restricted in order to protect respondent confidentiality. This information is detailed in the "Access" section for the dataset. Typically, ICPSR requires a research application and proof of local IRB approval for the project.

All datasets are accompanied by codebooks and other supporting documentation. Review these carefully to ensure proper interpretation of the data.

The campus Official Representative is available to assist you in accessing and downloading this content.

Viewing Data with SDA

Some ICPSR datasets can now be viewed instantly using SDA: Survey Documentation and Analysis. An excellent introduction to using SDA is available from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Data Archive (SAMHDA), and a full video webinar (with a demonstration starting at 12:55) is available from ICPSR. 

Use the data search filters to create a list of all ICPSR datasets available in SDA.

Getting Started with Statistical Software

Whether you are using SAS, SPSS, MiniTab, Stata, R, or another system to analyze data, there are resources available to help you get started.

  • Search the UA Libraries Catalog for the software name to locate and access ebooks and print books related to the software package.
  • Try the UA Libraries' subscription to Safari Books Online to see if there is an ebook related to the software package.
  • You can also search the OhioLINK Library Catalog to request a book from another library.
  • Search the internet with the software name and a keyword related to the problem you are encountering.
  • You can also find tutorials and videos on the internet to help address specific issues.

Statistical Software Tutorials and Guides

UA students and faculty can use the Virtual Lab to access SPSS 21, SAS 9.3 with Enterprise Miner, SAS JMP Pro 10, and MiniTab 16.

Citing Datasets

Like all resources, datasets should be cited whenever they are used in a publication, paper, presentation, or assignment. Here are some guides to citing data: