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*Research in the Social Sciences

A guide for individuals researching in sociology, psychology, political science, and neuroscience.

Data and Statistics - The Difference

What's the difference between 'Data' and 'Statistics'?

Data is the raw numbers/materials collected that represent a measurement or variable; it is unorganized and unprocessed.

  • F = 1, FREQ = 17957; M = 2, FREQ = 11747; NR = 3, FREQ = 198

Statistics are generated from data by processing, organizing, analyzing, interpreting, and representing the data in a meaningful context.

  • The GSU enrollment by sex for the Spring 2011 semester is 17,957 (60.05%) females, and 11,747 (39.28%) males, with 198 (.66%) not reporting.

ICPSR (Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research) - Database of Datasets

Searching for datasets? ICPSR is the best place to start!


The ICPSR (Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research) database has over 9,000 datasets available spanning various social science disciplines and topics. The datasets in ICPSR are primarily quantitative, but it also includes some qualitative datasets.

ACCESSING ICPSR DATA: Check out this page for all the ins and outs of accessing ICPSR data.

SEARCHING TIPS: You can keyword search for datasets, but using the browsing options is sometimes more efficient. For about 76% of their datasets they also have variable-level/question-level search capabilities.

HELP RESOURCES: Check out some of ICPSR's YouTube videos for searching tips.

GSS ~ U.S. Sociological and Attitudinal Trend Data, 1972 - 2014

The General Social Survey (GSS) "takes the pulse of America" on a vast number of topics, with national-level data collected beginning in 1972 to present. A great resource for any discipline!

To identify variables for the entire dataset and/or specific years:

To do data online analysis with no need for downloading or special software:

To download data for analysis in statistical software (e.g., SPSS, SAS, Stata, R):

  • You can also download the entire dataset, pre-constructed subsets, or create customized subsets of the data using SDA 4.0 - for help using SDA 4.0, check out these SDA 4.0 video tutorials.

Don't like the SDA 4.0 interface for exploring the GSS? Try out the GSS Data Explorer.

Need assistance?  Ask Mandy, Data Services Librarian (


Criminal Justice Datasets

Data Citation Index

Demographic Datasets

Economic Datasets

Education Datasets

Health and Science Datasets

International Datasets

Media Datasets

United States Datasets

The following is a list of selected resources that are useful for finding statistical information and numeric data on the U.S. and other countries.