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Finding & Using Data from ICPSR

The Inter-University Consortium of Political and Social Research is a depository of datasets for use in secondary data analysis.

Searching for Data Sets

Finding Data


The Search function appears on the Find and Analyze Data page.  You can search the name of a survey or a principal investigator.  You can also search by subject and/or keyword.  Consult the Thesaurus for social science terminology.


There is also a browse feature. Options include browsing by topic, series, geography.




The search results are a list of datasets and/or documents.  Studies with downloadable data  will have links to a description and download link.  Some studies have segments, with an online analysis link,  which have been adapted for the beginning researcher and for classroom use.  The related literature link will provide a list of citations for publications based upon the dataset.


If ICPSR does not have the data set you need, consider consulting the "Finding Data For Research" portion of the Datasets and Numeric Data Services guide.

Reading Data into SPSS

Reading Data into STATA

Downloading data

Downloading data

Most of the ICPSR datasets are downloadable only by current Vanderbilt students and faculty.  Federally funded data are freely available to the general public.

 Steps for downloading data:

  1. You must login to your ICPSR account
  2. Click your desired data format.
  3. Select the dataset(s) in the study that you want to download.
  4. Read the Terms of Use prior to hitting "Agree" button
  5. The download, into .zip file, should begin immediately.



  • Use the Browse Documentation tab to decide if the study fits your information needs.
  • By downloading data from ICPSR, you are agreeing not to share the data with persons not authorized by ICPSR to receive it and to follow the terms of use.