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SOC 497: Sociology Senior Research Seminar

Research Guide for SOC 497

Finding Datasets

ICPSR (Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Sciences Research): maintains a data archive of more than 250,000 files of research in the social and behavioral sciences. ICPSR is a unit within the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research and its office is in Ann Arbor. UM-Dearborn is one of ICPSR's 760 member institutions. Check out their Overview & Mission page for more information.

  • Go to ICPSR's Help Page for FAQs and videos about using ICPSR
  • To download and upload data, you need to login to the site via MyData, even if you're from a member institution. To create a MyData account:
  • Contact ICPSR with your questions by email at or by phone at 734-647-2200

PEW Social and Demographic TrendsDatasets from studies of behaviors and attitudes of Americans in key realms of their lives

Professor Aronson's List of Quantitative Datasets

  • US Census:  the leading source of quality data about the nation's people and economy. Topics include business, economy, education, employment, families & living arrangements, health, housing, income & poverty, population
  • General Social Survey (GSS)conducts basic scientific research on the structure and development of American society with a data-collection program designed to both monitor societal change within the United States and to compare the United States to other nations.
  • Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID): began in 1968 with a nationally representative sample of over 18,000 individuals living in 5,000 families in the US. Includes data covering employment, income, wealth, expenditures, health, marriage, childbearing, child development, philanthropy, education, and numerous other topics. The PSID is directed by faculty at the University of Michigan.
  • National Longitudinal Studiesa set of surveys by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics designed to gather information at multiple points in time on the labor market activities and other significant life events of several groups of men and women
  • Current Population Surveys (CPS): includes numerous high-profile economic statistics, including the national unemployment rate, and provides data on a wide range of issues relating to employment and earnings. Also collects extensive demographic data that complement and enhance our understanding of labor market conditions in the nation overall, among many different population groups, in the states and in substate areas.
  • American Community Survey (ACS)an ongoing survey that provides vital information on a yearly basis about our nation and its people, including demographics, housing, economic, and social data
  • American Housing Surveys (AHS)provides current information on a wide range of housing subjects, including size and composition of the nation's housing inventory, vacancies, fuel usage, physical condition of housing units, characteristics of occupants, equipment breakdowns, home improvements, mortgages and other housing costs, persons eligible for and beneficiaries of assisted housing, home values, and characteristics of recent movers
  • National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)the largest nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America's students know and can do in various subject areas
  • Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS)includes three longitudinal studies that examine child development, school readiness, and early school experiences and provides national data on children's status at birth and at various points thereafter; children's transitions to nonparental care, early education programs, and school; and children's experiences and growth through the eighth grade. 
  • National Household Education Survey (NHES): provides descriptive data on the educational activities of the U.S. population and covers learning at all ages, from early childhood to school age through adulthood.
  • Educational Longitudinal Survey (ELS)a major longitudinal effort designed to provide trend data about critical transitions experienced by students as they proceed through high school and into postsecondary education or their careers. The 2002 sophomore cohort will be followed, initially at 2-year intervals, to collect policy-relevant data about educational processes and outcomes, especially as such data pertain to student learning, predictors of dropping out, and high school effects on students' access to, and success in, postsecondary education and the work force.
  • Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS)a system of related questionnaires that provide descriptive data on the context of elementary and secondary education and policymakers a variety of statistics on the condition of education in the United States. The SASS system covers a wide range of topics from teacher demand, teacher and principal characteristics, general conditions in schools, principals' and teachers' perceptions of school climate and problems in their schools, teacher compensation, district hiring and retention practices, to basic characteristics of the student population.
  • Youth Development Study (YDS)initiated to address the developmental and achievement-related consequences of employment during the adolescent years. The data were collected as part of the ongoing Youth Development Study, which has surveyed the youth nearly annually (exceptions: 1996, 2001, 2006, 2008) since 1988.
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