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PAM 6040: Qualitative, Survey, and Mixed Method Approaches to Policy Research: Home

This guide provides resources and guidance on finding survey instruments and questions for developing your own surveys for policy research.

Sources for Codebooks and Questionnaires

Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR)

ICPSR is the largest repository of social science numeric research files in the U.S., with a membership composed of academic and research institutions. Because Cornell participates in its ICPSR Direct program, you can download files directly from the ICPSR site.  You have to register as an ICPSR Direct user and use the site from a Cornell IP or via the Cornell University Library link.  Most codebooks can be freely downloaded.

Studies may be searched by keywords in the study description or browsed under broad categories.  Codebooks are in PDF or plain text format. 

For tips on finding questions on the ICPSR website, go here.

Roper Center for Public Opinion Research

Search words as they appear in summaries, dates a survey was conducted, survey organization (e.g., Roper, Gallup, Yankelovich), sponsor (CNN, Time) and type of sample (e.g., national adult, undergraduate students, physicians, teenagers)

Many, but not all, studies have a machine-readable codebook that recreates the survey. Most U.S. surveys can be downloaded as datasets (codebook, numeric files) via Roper Express service; look for the RoperExpress  icon.

For more information about finding questions in Roper, go here.

CISER Data Archive

The Cornell Institute for Social and Economic Research houses an extensive collection of numeric files in the social sciences, with emphasis on demography, economics and labor, political and social behavior, family life and health.  Search and browse titles and abstracts (for about half of the the studies). Most files on the CISER server are downloaded in zip format.  Keep in mind that many studies don't have machine-readable documentation. 

For help in searching the CISER data archive for questions, go here.

Finding questions in Question Banks

Association of Religion Data Archives, Pennsylvania State University

Search the surveys and their questions by keywords or browse studies by population surveyed (national, regional focus, congregants, religious professionals). Add questions to a personalized Question Bank, then save results for later display or download.

Polling the Nations:  The Ultimate Survey Database

Over 300,000 questions from more than 14,000 surveys conducted in the US and abroad from 1986+.  Search by words in question text, geographic area, date, or use the browse feature (“List of Topics”).  Add questions to an Export Cart to download.

iPOLL, Roper Center for Public Opinion Research

iPOLL requires that you create an account as a Cornell user to use all site features. Contains approximately 500,000 questions from surveys conducted in the U.S., some back to the 1940s. iPOLL searches words in the text of questions and question responses. In most cases, you can retrieve all questions from the same survey.  iPOLL also has a bookmark feature if you want to re-run the search later.  Some questions link to the Roper Express RoperExpress function to download the entire dataset (data and documentation) and perform simple statistical analyses. More on Roper Express service is here.

American National Election Studies

There are two ways to access the questions and question back for ANES

ANES 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012

This option lists the concepts/topics by category and you are able to see the years the
question was asked. 

Search ANES Time Series questions and variable documentation

This option allows you to search ANES Time Series study codebooks to identify questions and
variables by keyword.

Survey Data Netherlands - LISS Panel Data Archive

Questions can be obtained from Data Archives from around the world.  The Longitudinal Internet Studies for the Social Sciences (LISS) panel data archive is one example.  The study has been conducted since October 2007 and may provide a different aspect of questions.

UK Data Service Variable and Question Bank

The UK Data services allows you to search across hundreds of studies accessible through the UK Data Archive.

Finding survey items in the scholarly literature

Another approach to finding survey instruments and questionnaires is to search the scholarly literature using specific search terms.  Add search terms like "survey instrument", "research instrument", or "questionnaire", along with your topic keywords using "AND".  The articles you find will likely include the survey instrument in their appendices or will provide a reference to the survey instrument used in the bibliography.

Try this technique in the following databases.


Search for keywords related to your topic in addition to research instrument terms as in the following example:

public education AND (research instruments OR questionnaires OR survey instruments)


Sociological Abstracts

Search for keywords related to your topic in addition to research instrument terms as in the following example:

(public education) AND (research instruments OR survey instruments)

Other survey producers, public opinion and polls

Contact Information

Kelee Pacion
Albert R. Mann Library
237 Mann Drive,
Ithaca, NY 14853
Website / Blog Page

Contact Information

Michelle Edwards
CISER - Cornell Institute for Social and Economic Research
391 Pine Tree Rd
Website / Blog Page

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The Cornell Institute for Social and Economic Research (CISER) is an excellent resource for help with the use of data files and statistical analysis software, and working with social science and economic data, both public access and restricted.  CISER offers numerous workshops at Mann library on the use of statistical packages and computing.  CISER also offers drop-in office hours both at their off-campus location on Pine Tree Road and at Mann Library. CISER is also the source of a large data archive available to Cornell researchers in the social sciences.