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Finding Data for Social Sciences

About ICPSR


To be able to download data from ICPSR you must have an account with ICPSR. To create an account simply follow the link below use your WVU email address.

Find Studies

Currently ICPSR has over 10,000 studies in its collection, To perform a basic search for studies in ICPSR, simply click on the Find Data tab.


From there you can simply search ICPSR using keywords. For instance "voting behavior". In addition to a basic keyword search, ICPSR also provides a subject thesaurus of preferred terminology that you can browse through.


On your results page you will see the listing of studies that your search produced in the middle of the screen. On the left hand column will be a list of filters you can use to limit your search.


To access the data, simply click on the title of the study your are interested in. This will take you to the record page for the study. From here you get information about the study including the scope of the project, investigators, funding agency, how to cite the study, variable that were used, and any publication that used the data.

To download the data and documention: 

  1. You can click on the download button and it will give the available formats for the data.
  2. Click on the Data and Documentation tab and you will see a listing of the files. To download click on the download icon and it will give the available formats.

Find and Compare Variables

In addition to allowing you to search for studies, ICPSR also allows you to search for and compare variables across studies. To get started, click on the Find Data tab and select Search/Compare Variables.


From there you can search for the variable you are looking for. For instance "gun control". On your results page you will see a listing for the name of the variable, the label for the variable, the type of variable it is, and the study that it was derived from. If you would like to further refine your results you can do so using the filter options on the left hand side. 


Click on the Variable Name will take you into the record for the variable. In the record you can view the information about the variable along with descriptive statistics of the results. However, you cannot download individual variables, you will still need to download the full data set.

To compare two or more variables from your results page, simply check the box next to the name of the variable you would like to compare. When you have finished selecting your variable, click on the Compare button at the top of the results.

Browse Data

In addition to being able to search for studies and variables, you can also browse through the studies based on what you are trying to find.