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HOW TO CITE A DATA SET

Basic Elements | ICPSR Citations | Examples | Roper Ctr Citations

Most style guides do not provide guidelines for citing data sets. Those presented here are intended to be a guide but are not definitive. When in doubt, check with your professor.

Citations of data sets should include these basics:

  • Author(s) of the original study, whether individual(s) or institution(s)
  • Title of the original study
  • [Computer file] to indicate use of an electronic data set
  • City and state of the data producer - usually the institution sponsoring the research (like the information about a publisher in a book citation)
  • Name of the data producer with the designation [producer]
  • Year the data was produced

If you accessed the data through an archive or other repository like ICPSR, also include these elements:

  • Unique identifier - the repository's UI, often a number
  • City and state of the data distributor - the repository through which you accessed the data
  • Name of the data distributor with the designation [distributor]
  • Date the data was made available in the repository - exact date if available.

Although right now most style guides do not offer specific examples for these kinds of citations, you can glean from them general guidance about the order and formatting of these elements.

Caveat: If you have a choice between citing a data set or a codebook, cite the data set! The point is to provide a path that enables other researchers to access the data, not the codebook.


ICPSR Citations

If you're using ICPSR data, you're in luck. ICPSR provides citations for all of its data sets in:

  1. the study descriptions that appear on the Web site
  2. the file manifest
  3. the PDF Description file.

Just copy their citation.

Note: If you use ICPSR data, be sure to notify them--your research may be included in their Bibliography of Data-Related Literature. Submit your citation for inclusion via email to: bibliography -at- icpsr.umich.edu .


Citation Examples from ICPSR's web site

CBS NEWS. CBS NEWS MONTHLY POLL #1, JULY 2002. [Computer file]. ICPSR0321-v1. New York, NY: CBS News [producer], 2002. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2003-10-21.

Earls, Felton J., Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Stephen W. Raudenbush, and Robert J. Sampson. PROJECT ON HUMAN DEVELOPMENT IN CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOODS (PHDCN): CHILD BEHAVIOR CHECKLIST, WAVE 1, 1994-1997 [Computer file]. ICPSR13582-v1. Boston, MA: Harvard Medical School [producer], 2002. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2005-07-22.

U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, National Center for Health Statistics. National Hospital Discharge Survey, 1997 [Computer file]. ICPSR02801-v1. Hyattsville, MD: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, National Center for Health Statistics [producer], 1999. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1999-07-21.

U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census. Current Population Survey: Annual Demographic File, 1999 [Computer file]. ICPSR02825-v1. Washington, DC: U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census [producer], 1999. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1999-11-17.

Bachman, Jerald G., Lloyd D. Johnston, and Patrick M. O'Malley. Monitoring the Future: A Continuing Study of American Youth (12th-Grade Survey), 1998 [Computer file]. Conducted by University of Michigan, Survey Research Center. ICPSR02751-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [producer and distributor], 2000-03-28.

Reif, Karlheinz, and Anna Melich. Euro-Barometer 39.0: European Community Policies and Family Life, March-April 1993 [Computer file]. Conducted by INRA (Europe), Brussels. ICPSR06195-v4. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [producer], 1995. Koeln, Germany: Zentralarchiv fuer Empirische Sozialforschung/Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributors], 1997.


Roper Center Citations

The Roper Center Public Opinion Archives provides its own format for citations as shown below. For more information see http://www.ropercenter.uconn.edu/data_access/data/how_to_cite.html.

General Citation Format:
Authorship. Title [material designator]. Edition/Version. Location of producer: Name of producer [producer], Production date. Location of distributor: Name of distributor [distributor], Distribution date.

Example:
Cable News Network, USA Today. CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll # 2000-20:
Microsoft/Parents/'Socially Responsible' [computer file]. 1st Roper Center for Public Opinion Research version. Lincoln, NE: Gallup Organization [producer], 2000. Storrs, CT: The Roper Center, University of Connecticut [distributor], 2001.

From the web site: "Research scholars publishing analytical pieces using data obtained from the Roper Center are also encouraged to provide the Center with a copy of the work or its citation information for inclusion in the web version of the "Bibliography of publications using data from the Roper Center."

Citations can be submitted by email at rcweb@ropercenter.uconn.edu or by sending them to The Roper Center, University of Connecticut, 369 Fairfield Way, Unit 2164, Storrs, CT 06269-2164."