Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research
The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) is a membership-based organization providing access to the world's largest archive of research and instructional data for the social sciences. ICPSR further serves social scientists by offering training programs in basic and advanced techniques of quantitative social analysis, and other resources that facilitate secondary analysis. The headquarters and central staff of ICPSR are located in the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan.
The data holdings cover a broad range of disciplines, including criminal justice, demography, economics, education, foreign policy, gerontology, history, law, political science, public health, and sociology. Resources are obtained from government, academic, and private organizations throughout the world.
The services and datasets offered by ICPSR through the University Libraries are available only to students, staff, and faculty affiliated with the University of Tennessee's Knoxville campus. Interested parties not affiliated with the university may access ICPSR services for a fee by contacting ICPSR at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ICPSR website has a wealth of information about the studies in the data archive. Search options are available for simple (basic) or more complex (advanced) searches at the study level. Instructions are available at the Searching FAQ link. You may also browse through a list of subject areas or search from a subject thesaurus to find studies.
Each study description includes the study number, title, principal investigator(s), summary, types of files available, various dates, and other information, as appropriate.
You may use the ICPSR Direct service to download ICPSR files directly to your computer. When you access the download page for a study, you will be asked to log in with your e-mail address and a password. You must create a MyData account the first time you use this service (user ID is your e-mail address and you pick your own password). If you are not at a computer with a UT Knoxville IP address, you must access the ICPSR website from Databases web page (Datasets category) so you can be authenticated by the proxy server before going to the ICPSR website. The system will remember your login for several hours, so it is not necessary to log in repeatedly if you are looking at multiple studies.
The ICPSR Direct download process uses a shopping cart system to download files in batches.
- Step 1. Select the desired format/type(s) of files. Note that documentation files are automatically included with any data file download.
- Step 2. Select the dataset/part(s) of the study for which you want to download files.
- Step 3. Click on 'Add to Data Cart' to add the selected files to the batch.
- Step 4. You may review the contents of the cart if you wish (Review Data Cart), and modify your selections before downloading.
- Step 5. Download the batch file (if you didn't initiate the download on the review page). The batch file is a compressed file that must be unzipped to extract the individual files.
Codebooks provide critical information about studies and their data files, including background, sampling methodology, data layout, and restrictions on use, among other things. All of ICPSR's codebooks are available online from the website.
Page last updated July 13, 2009.