Research Support Services
Subject Specialist Librarian
This subject guide lists links to prominent surveys and polls used in social science and related research.
The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, currently located at Cornell University, is one of the world’s leading archives of social science data, specializing in data from public opinion surveys. The Center’s mission is to collect, preserve, and disseminate public opinion data; to serve as a resource to help improve the practice of survey research; and to broaden the understanding of public opinion through the use of survey data in the United States and abroad. Founded in 1947, the Roper Center holds polling data ranging from the 1930s, when survey research was in its infancy, to the present. Over 650,000 questions of U.S. samples can be searched at the question-level in iPOLL, while RoperExpress offers downloads of over 20,000 datasets from over 100 countries.
Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) is the world’s largest archive of digital social science data. ICPSR acquires, preserves, and distributes original research data. This site links to training and curricular material, and a database which provides access to publications based on ICPSR data holdings.
Related: Database of publications based on ICPSR data holdings
More information on ICPSR and other social science data are available from the Social Science Data Service
The Field Poll, or the California Poll, was established in 1947 by Mervin Field and has operated continuously as an independent, non-partisan, media-sponsored public opinion news service. They cover a wide range of political and social topics, including:
The General Social Survey contains a standard ‘core’ of demographic, behavioral, and attitudinal questions, plus topics of special interest. Many of the core questions have remain unchanged since 1972 to facilitate time-trend studies as well as replication of earlier findings. It has tracked the opinions of Americans over the last four decades. The 1972-2006 GSS has 5,084 variables, time-trends for 1,643 variables, and 269 trends having 20+ data points.The GSS is part of the National Data Program for the Sciences at the University of Chicago.
A database of in-depth, authoritative reports on a full range of political and social-policy issues extending back to 1923. Each report is footnoted and includes an overview, background section, chronology, bibliography and debate-style pro-con feature, plus tools to study the evolution of the topic over time.
“The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank. We are dedicated to informing and improving public policy in California through independent, objective, nonpartisan research.
“PPIC delivers actionable, fact-based research to help the state find practical responses to a range of policy challenges.
PPIC houses three policy centers that address topics of major importance to California.
“Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. We conduct public opinion polling, demographic research, content analysis and other data-driven social science research. We do not take policy positions.”
The Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP), hosted at Vanderbilt University, links to over 60 academic studies based on survey research conducted mainly in Latin America. The LAPOP surveys analyze citizen views on topics that range from system support and political tolerance, to citizen participation, local government, corruption, and views on authoritarianism. To date surveys have been conducted and are now being archived for: Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela as well as for Madagascar, Israel and Albania.