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Flint, Michigan and Beyond! Data via ICPSR

Published by Mark Bodnar

A big thank-you to SFU's Data Librarian, Carla Graebner, for pointing me toward a new open data source -- one that gives me an opportunity to also talk about another resource of broader interest.

Let's start with the single open data source...

Open Data Flint is an open-to-the-community data repository created by ICPSR, with the aim of assisting the community of Flint, Michigan to:

  • Bring together data to help build the evidence base to achieve a healthier Flint community.
  • Gain a deeper understanding of the far-reaching impact of the water crisis on the Flint population

This resource may be of interest to researchers looking at urban planning, economics, and the sociological impacts of industrialization in North American communities.

And, from my perspective, it's also of interest because it gives me an opportunity to plug one of our lesser-known resources: ICPSR (aka, the "Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research").  

Featuring information from over 9600 studies, ICPSR is a great place to build on the work of previous researchers by accessing their raw data, codebooks, and more!  Don't reinvent the wheel...

Here are just a few examples of the sorts of studies covered by ICPSR

Note: SFU researchers get access to all that data because SFU is one of about 760 member institutions in the ICPSR.  (Yay, SFU!)

Speaking of membership, see below for some direct quotes from the ICPSR Members page about their activities and the way people use their resources and services.

ICPSR seeks research data and pertinent documents from researchers, including Principle Investigators, research agencies, and government entities. We process, preserve, and disseminate the data and documents. We also provide education, training, and instructional resources to help users understand and analyze research data.

Why People Use ICPSR

  • Researchers and students use ICPSR to write articles, papers or theses using real research data, and to conduct secondary research to support findings or current research, or to generate new findings. ICPSR data are also often used as introductory support material in grant proposals.

  • Data producers take advantage of ICPSR's services to preserve and disseminate their primary research data, and often to fulfill funder requirements for data management plans.

  • Instructors use ICPSR's educational resources to introduce students to the principles and practices of data analysis in order to support quantitative literacy efforts.

As always, if you have questions, send them my way!

-- MarkB
Mark Bodnar
Economics & Business Librarian

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