Social Science Data Services
FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions
Social Science Data Services provides assistance with finding, understanding, and managing statistics or numeric or tabular data in the social sciences, management, and related areas. Based in Dewey Library, we can provide advice and referrals regarding data sources, training, software and hardware, and archiving and disseminating your data.
The Harvard-MIT Data Center (HMDC) is a joint data repository between Harvard and MIT that allows MIT affiliates to store and retrieve data and receive support for data analysis. Collections at HMDC include data from ICPSR and the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research. Data can be accessed through the HMDC Repository.
The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) is one of the largest archives for social science data in the U.S. MIT affiliates have two ways to access data from ICPSR:
a. Via the ICPSR web site. Unique features on the ICPSR web site include: browsing data by subject, the Bibliography of Data-Related Literature, a Social Science Variables Database, and the Data Analysis System.
Note: while authentication is based on IP address, direct access via the ICPSR site also requires creation of a personalized account.
b. Via the Harvard-MIT Data Center. Unique features of downloading ICPSR data via HMDC include: format conversion, subset selection generation, on-line data analysis (available on more studies than at the ICPSR site), and cross searching of data from other collections, such as the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research.
Via the Roper home page . There, users can search under either:
Note: Users will need to register in order to download data from the Roper web site.
For some guidelines on issues of confidentiality, dissemination, and citation methods, see our page on responsible use of data.
ICPSR and other archives restrict access to certain data files and variables for reasons of confidentiality. For information on applying for access to these files, see our page on restricted data.
In addition retrieving statistics and conducting statistical analysis, many users are also interested in using data in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in order to map data or conduct geospatial analysis. See the GIS Laboratory at MIT.
Yes. While we have limited funds for purchasing or licensing data, we welcome suggestions from members of the MIT community. Please indicate the data resource of interest on the Libraries suggested purchase form (select data under the social sciences section). You may want to consult our data acquisition guidelines.
For information on the availability at MIT of software packages such as SAS, SPSS, and Stata, see our software availability page. Please note: those packages offered by schools or departmental computer labs are available only to their affiliates.
For information on how MIT affiliates can get help with using data in statistical software packages, see our page on software support. Please note: those services offered by schools or departmental computer labs are available only to their affiliates.
12. I am a faculty member who would like to archive and disseminate my data; what resources are available to me in this area?
The MIT Libraries have several resources to support faculty who are looking to document, archive, and distribute data they produce. See our page on archiving and disseminating your data.
Katherine McNeill, Social Science Data Services and Economics Librarian, email@example.com
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