Search/Compare Variables

The Social Science Variables Database (SSVD) enables ICPSR users to examine and compare variables and questions across studies or series. The SSVD currently includes over 5 million variables, representing about 76% of ICPSR's holdings that have quantitative data described in statistical syntax.

The SSVD does not include our entire collection. For a comprehensive search of all datasets, use our main data search, which indexes all of the documentation available for our studies, including the variable descriptions.

Comparing Variables

Select checkboxes, and then select "Compare" from the Actions button. This will take you to a screen where you can compare the details of the variables you chose.

Search Tips

  • Enter words or strings that are likely to appear in a variable name, label, question, and value labels:

    Presidential election will return variables dealing with all presidential elections

    Presidential election Obama will return only variables dealing with the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections

  • Use quotes to search for specific phrases:

    "life satisfaction" "minority rights" "community programs"
  • The minus sign may be used to remove certain types of results:

    "Presidential debate" -"Bill Clinton" will eliminate the debates from 1992 and 1996 in which Clinton participated

  • A Boolean "and" is implied in the search.

  • The search automatically does stemming (more info); there's no need to type in an asterisk. It's also case-insensitive.