This page explains how to find and acquire Roper Center datasets. If you're already familiar the process, then you can skip this section and jump directly to the Roper Center search page.
1. Quick overview, for beginners...
The first step is to get clear about the variables you'd ideally want to find in a dataset. It might be helpful to make a list. For example, if you are studying confidence in various news media sources and you want to analyze results by geographic area, by level of education, by income, and by voter participation, then you will need to find a single dataset that includes questions addressing all of these elements:
confidence in television network news
confidence in the local newspaper
confidence in popular news magazines
confidence in alternative press sources
respondent's educational attainment
respondent's household income
respondent's voter participation in the most recent election
It is important to consider the characteristics of the sample used in a study, particularly if you plan to conduct your analysis at small geographic levels. Roper's catalog provides characteristics of the samples used in each survey.
2. Searching by variable
After you have created your list of variables, you can begin to search for surveys. We have a database which features keyword searching on questions within surveys: iPOLL. It displays full text of survey questions and the statistical breakdown of multiple-choice format responses. Finding survey questions this way is easy. The challenge lies in getting the compete dataset from which any particular survey question was taken. For that, you may need to use the Roper Center web catalog or contact the Data Services Librarian for assistance.
Many Roper datasets are available for immediate download. If you find one in the archive which is not immediately downloadable, contact the Data Services Librarian (Marie Concannon), who will ask the Roper Center to expedite processing of the particular dataset.