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ICPSR: Finding and Using Data from ICPSR

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

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Create an Account

To download data and resources at ICPSR, you’ll first need to create an account. All ICPSR data users need to agree to the terms and conditions of the data you’d like to download or analyze.  

Please follow these steps:

  1. Visit
  2. Select “log in” on the top right
  3. Select “create account”
  4. You may create an account in multiple ways including using a Google account or ORCID. We recommend using your institutional email address.
  5. Enter the requested information. We recommend selecting “yes” when asked if your institutional representative may view your information. This helps our institution better support data users.
  6. Once you’ve completed your account creation, you can begin to download data or analyze data online.

If you receive an error message, try logging in from an on-campus location or make sure you are using the VPN. You can always contact our campus Representative (see contact information on the home page of this guide), or send a request to 

Locate Studies

Search for Variables

You can search specifically for variables and questions across studies in the Social Sciences Variables Database (SSVD). The SSVD allows users to search through over 5 million variables, representing about 76% of ICPSR's holdings.

You can also browse variables by study or browse by series.

Analyze Data

Online Analysis

ICPSR uses software called Survey Documentation and Analysis (SDA) to enable users to do statistical analysis via their Web browser. Online analysis is available for over 1,500 studies.

The software developers at UC Berkeley have online documentation for SDA.

Download Data

ICPSR lets you download data in several common data formats, including:

  • SAS
  • SPSS
  • Stata
  • Comma seperated values (CSV)
  • Other plain text formats (details)

Files are compressed and downloaded as .zip archives.


Locate Related Literature

Find publications based on ICPSR data via the Bibliography of Data-Related Literature, a searchable database of over 100,000 citations to published and unpublished works resulting from analyses of data held in the ICPSR archive.

There are two ways to find citations:

  1. Find a study via the data search and click on the Data-Related Publications tab

  2. Search from the Data-Related Publications page

Cite Data

ICPSR studies can be cited by clicking the Cite This Study link in an item record, and either copying/pasting the citation or exporting it to a citation manager.

Whatever citation style is used, the essential elements of a data citation are:

  • Title
  • Author (person who collected the data)
  • Date
  • Publisher/Distributor
  • Version
  • Persistent identifier (such as the Digital Object Identifier, Uniform Resource Name URN, or Handle System)

See ICPSR's guide to proper research data citation for more resources on this topic.