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ICPSR - InterUniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research

Established in 1962 at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) is a membership-based organization providing access to the world's largest archive of computer-based research and instructional data for the social sciences. ICPSR further serves social scientists around the world by offering training facilities in basic and advanced techniques of quantitative social analysis and other resources that facilitate secondary analysis. ICPSR includes among its members over 500 colleges and universities from around the world. Virginia Tech Libraries pay annual dues that entitle faculty, staff, and students to acquire the full range of service.

The data archive includes a broad range of disciplines, including political science, sociology, demography, economics, history, education, gerontology, criminal justice, public health, foreign policy, and law. See this ICPRSR overview video for help in getting started. For further assistance see the ICPSR 'Get Help' page..

The data archive is searchable as well as browseable by subject. Once you locate a study of interest, click on the description link to see details, including: study number, principal investigator, summary, subjects, geographic coverage, time period, date(s) of collection, unit of observation, universe, data type, methodology, extent of collection , and restrictions (if any).

Downloading data sets from ICPSR

Click on the Download tab to save the files of this study. You see this message:
Authorized Download - Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University

As a student, faculty or staff member at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, you are authorized to access the data resources of ICPSR. The study you have requested is the property of ICPSR's member institutions. By downloading the data, you signify that you agree not to share the data with anyone other than faculty members, students, or staff of Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University. You further agree to the terms of use specified in ICPSR's Responsible Use Statement.

You must have a MyData account in order to proceed further. New users will be asked to enter name, email address, affiliation, department/unit, and downloads preference ( SAS, SPSS, Stata) and to choose a password. Returning users will authenticate using their previously created MyData email address and password.

Now you are ready to download.
Step 1. Select available data formats (documentation files are automatically included)
Step 2. Select datasets
Step 3. use button
Step 4. use button
Step 5. use button

Your files will be saved as a zipped file and will have to be unzipped before you can access them.

The local Virginia Tech representative is Bruce Pencek (located in room 3050 Newman Library; 540-231-2410).

Portions of the ICPSR collection are freely available to all users, including persons unaffiliated with a member institution. Most of the studies in the ICPSR archive are restricted, however, to faculty, staff, and students at member institutions.

Bibliography of data-related literature

A searchable database that contains over 47,000 citations of known published and unpublished works resulting from analyses of data held in the ICPSR archive The purpose of this project is to facilitate the use of the ICPSR holdings by providing a means to investigate previous research based on ICPSR data. Instructors often direct students to begin data-related research projects by reading some of the major works based on the data. Advanced researchers also find reading the existing literature to be an effective way to begin using a dataset.

  •     Bruce Pencek
  • Bruce Pencek
  • College Librarian for Social Sciences & History
  • (540) 231-2140
  • (540) 231-2140 (Newman Library 3050 office -- for most purposes)
  • 3050 Newman Library, 560 Drillfield Drive
    Blacksburg, VA 24062-9001

Search ICPSR data

ICPSR offers more than 500,000 digital files containing social science research data. Disciplines represented include political science, sociology, demography, economics, history, gerontology, criminal justice, public health, foreign policy, terrorism, health and medical care, early education, education, racial and ethnic minorities, psychology, law, substance abuse and mental health, and more.


Search ICPSR bibliography of data-related literature

The Bibliography of Data-Related Literature is a continuously-updated database of thousands of citations of works using data held in the ICPSR archive. The works include journal articles, books, book chapters, government and agency reports, working papers, dissertations, conference papers, meeting presentations, unpublished manuscripts, magazine and newspaper articles, and audiovisual materials.