With over 700 member institutions and over a half million files of social science research, the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) is the world's largest social science data archive. In addition to its own collection, the ICPSR also provides access to a large number of data sets from various partner institutions.
Through the CSU's membership in the ICPSR, students, faculty, and staff can download data from on campus.
ICPSR data are made available through a license to the CSU, and are not to be provided to non-CSU personnel.
Downloading Data from ICPSR
Go to the ICPSR home page.
Syntax (setup) files.
In some cases, you can download a file that can be opened directly in SAS or SPSS. In other cases, you will be provided with a fixed-format ASCII file and a SAS or SPSS command file. The instructions that follow apply to SPSS command (or “syntax” files). Once you have downloaded your files and, if necessary, unzipped them:
- Start SPSS and open the syntax file (the one with the “.sps” extension).
- Find the “FILE HANDLE” command and replace “data-filename” with the path to your data file (the one ending in “.txt”). For example, if you download ICPSR Study 4131 (ABC News Pennsylvania Poll, Sept. 2004) in a directory on your “C” drive called “Temp,” the path created will be "C:\Temp\5268001\ICPSR_04131\DS0001_ABC_News_Pennsylvania_Poll,_September_2004__\04131-0001-Data.txt." (This is admittedly pretty unwieldy, and it might be a good idea to move and rename the file before proceeding). The FILE HANDLE:
FILE HANDLE DATA / NAME="data-filename" LRECL=225.
FILE HANDLE DATA / NAME="C:\Temp\5268001\ICPSR_04131\DS0001_ABC_News_Pennsylvania_Poll,_September_2004__\04131-0001-Data.txt " LRECL=225.
- Find the “SAVE OUTFILE” command (probably the last one in the file), and replace “spss-filename.sav” with the name and path of the SPSS system file you wish to create. If the command is preceded by an asterisk, remove the asterisk. For example,
From the menu bar, click on “Run” and “All.”
If no "SAVE OUTFILE" command exits, create one from scratch. Note that all SPSS commands end with a period.
For more information, go to Reading Raw Data Into SPSS (Stanford, PDF)
Understanding ICPSR: Four "Tours" of ICPSR Research Data Services & Education Resources
ICPSR Resources for instructors
ICPSR Bibliography of Data-Related Literature
Reading Raw Data Into SPSS (Stanford, PDF)