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PSC 2500: Political Inquiry: Data Sources

Library Databases

These datasets require you to be on campus or to log in with your UCCS account.

Political Science related Data Sets

The following list contains free sources of data.

U.S. Government Websites with Data Sets

Many governmental websites contain download data sets.

International Data Sets

Data Social Networks

Understanding the Raw Data

In order to understand, interpret, and analyze raw data sets, you need to find the data set's:

  • Summary or Description of the data set
  • Codebook (or at least the original survey/questionaire)
  • Data Set (try to download it as a Deliminated .txt or .csv file so you can import it into MS Excel)

Data Puke: Viewing ASCII Data in MS Excel

Here are steps to open an ascii text (.txt) file in Excel properly:

  1. Download the dataset file as a ascii or text file to your computer.
  2. Open up Microsoft Excel and click on the Data tab.
  3. Select “From Text” option.
  4. Select the text file you want to import.
  5. Using the Text Import Wizard, selected Delimited and click Next.
  6. There are many different ways to separate the data; I find by Space works the best but if you notice a special character like ("|") or semi-colon/comma (";" or ",") that is in-between the numbers, select that option instead. Click Next.
  7. Select Finish.

Even after all of this your data may still not be properly formatted. Check the Codebook and compare the variables they have listed--if the variables outlined in the Codebook and in your spreadsheet are not lining up, then you may have to further format the data by hand in Excel. At this point, it would be easier to download the SPSS file and use the SPSS computers in the Library or in Columbine or to select a different data set.