Obtaining Data

The Population Research Institute's (PRI) Computational and Spatial Analysis (CSA) Core provides research support services at all stages of the funded research cycle including assisting with data management for your project. The CSA Core staff can help you to implement your data management plan from collecting and acquiring your research data through processing your data for your analysis and on to preparing your data for sharing.

Contact the CSA Core at csa-info@psu.edu to learn how we can support the data management needs of your project.

Collecting and Acquiring Data

The CSA Core staff can help you to collect or acquire the data you need for your project. If your project will be collecting primary data, the Core staff has experience in developing customized data-collection systems that may help. The CSA Core staff also have experience with a variety of data sets commonly used population-based research for secondary data analysis. The CSA Core can help you to:

  • identify appropriate data sets for your project;
  • retrieve, clean, and reformat the data as necessary for your project; and
  • clean, recode, and restructure the data according to your analysis plan.

Contact the CSA Core at csa-info@psu.edu to learn how we can help you to acquire the data for your project.

Restricted-Use Data

Some datasets require authorization for access or elevated levels of security because of the sensitive nature of the questions asked, the ages of the participants, personally identifiable information (PII) available among the data, or other conditions specified in the data usage agreement. The CSA Core programmers have experience working with such highly-sensitive, restricted-use data sets and are familiar with methods for limiting the risk of deductive disclosure. The CSA Core staff also includes a data compliance specialist who can assist you with your Institutional Review Board (IRB) application and the contracting process. The data compliance specialist can also serve as the "data contract administrator" throughout your project to assist you in complying with the terms of your data usage agreement.

Acquiring restricted-use data can take several months. Please plan accordingly and contact the CSA Core at csa-info@psu.edu to learn how we can support the use of restricted-use data in your project.

Data Resources

There are a number of websites available that can help you to find data that may be appropriate for your project. The CSA Core also maintains a collection of data sets including "value-added" copies of public-use data sets. The CSA Core has cleaned and reformatted these data sets to make them readily available for analysis. This collection is accessible on the Simple Online Data Archive for Population Studies (SodaPop) website and on the PRI's computer network.

In addition to the public-use data sets available on the SodaPop website, the CSA Core also has multiple-user licenses for restricted-use data sets including data sets from The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health) and The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). These licenses can greatly reduce the process time for authorizing new users.

Contact the CSA Core at csa-info@psu.edu to learn what resources we may have available to help you with your project.