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**Sociology: Subject Guide to Graduate Research: Finding Existing Data -

The resources on this page are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what's available for materials to use for performing original data analysis - if you're not finding what you want or want to have a conversation about your specific data needs, email Mandy for an appointment - she's eager to help! :-)

Quantitative Datasets for Secondary Analysis

Below are some key places to start with when looking for quantitative datasets for statistical analyses.

GSS (General Social Survey) ~ 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 and its help resources.

Need assistance?  Ask Mandy, Data Services Librarian (

* 1972 - 2014 data available for analysis as of 4/6/2016.

GIS (Geographic Information Systems)

Data Help (beyond your professors)...

ICPSR (Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research) - A Database of 9,000+ 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.


My recommendations are to try these in the order you see below:

  1. Click FIND DATA > SEARCH/COMPARE VARIABLES to search for specific variables/questions asks in a survey (searches across ~76% of the datasets) -- good option pinpoint a very specific variable of interest that might be buried within a broader study.
  2. Click FIND DATA -- then use Browse options to browse for data by Topics, Series, Thematic Data Collections, or Global Data
  3. Use search field option to keyword search for datasets.