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Social Science Data: Use Data

This is the Social Science Data Services site which provides/pulls together guidance on finding statistics and data in the social sciences.

Understanding research data files

Use data responsibly

Most social science data sets are generated as a result of confidential research on individuals or organizations. Therefore, when conducting research using data sets, it is important to abide by the following principles:

  • Use data for statistical analysis and reporting of aggregated information only, and not for investigation of specific individuals or organizations.
  • Make no use of the identity of any person or establishment discovered inadvertently.
  • Produce no links among datasets that could identify individuals or organizations.
  • Do not redistribute the data to anyone other than current students, faculty,or staff of MIT.
  • Only use the data for non-profit, scholarly research and instructional purposes.
  • Cite the data appropriately in your publications.

Note: individual data files and archives may have their own terms of use; consult the information in the codebook or in the study record.

In addition, if you make use of any confidential data in your research, you should contact COUHES (Committee on the Use of Humans as Experimental Subjects), the MIT office that reviews and approves research involving human subjects. See also our page on the use of restricted data.