Public Image of Courts, 1977: Special Publics Data (ICPSR 7704)

Principal Investigator(s): United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Bureau of Justice Statistics


This data collection and its companion study, PUBLIC IMAGE OF COURTS, 1977: GENERAL PUBLIC DATA (ICPSR 7703), were undertaken to explore attitudes toward courts and justice. These surveys sought to measure perceptions of and experiences with local, state, and federal courts as well as general attitudes toward the administration of justice and legal actors. The general objectives of the studies were to (1) determine levels of public knowledge of courts, (2) test reactions to situations that might, or might not, prompt recourse to courts, (3) determine the incidence, nature, and evaluations of court experience, (4) describe and account for evaluations of court performance, (5) indicate attitudes toward legal actors, and (6) indicate reactions to alternative means of dispute resolution. Two samples were drawn: a national sample of the general public (ICPSR 7703) and a "special publics" sample of judges, lawyers, and community leaders. The 1,112 respondents in the special publics sample were interviewed by a group of interviewers described as "retired business executives specially trained to interview leadership groups."

Access Notes

  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.


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Study Description


United States Department of Justice. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Public Image of Courts, 1977: Special Publics Data. ICPSR07704-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1997.

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This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Bureau of Justice Statistics

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    court system, judges, judicial process, justice

Geographic Coverage:    United States

Time Period:   

  • 1977

Date of Collection:   

  • 1977-10--1977-12

Universe:    United States citizens with law/politics/business-related jobs.

Data Type(s):    survey data


Sample:    The sample of lawyers was drawn in three phases: First, the MARTINDALE-HUBBELL LAW DICTIONARY was employed, and then a supplemental sample of public sector attorneys and a supplemental sample of lawyers practicing in federal courts were drawn. State/local judges were stratified into three categories: judges sitting on the highest state appeals courts, judges sitting on courts of general jurisdiction, and judges sitting on courts of limited/special jurisdiction. Federal judges were selected on an every nth basis. State/local and federal/national community leaders were selected by geography and leadership category. This category includes mayors and staff, governors and staff, members of state legislatures who chaired/cochaired judiciary committees, law enforcement officials, representatives of electronic news media who covered court and crime-related matters, representatives of print media who covered court and crime-related matters, leaders of local organizations, local business leaders, local (municipal) legislators, and leaders of local labor union chapters. For federal/national community leaders, most of the interviews were conducted in Washington, DC. National business leaders were sampled from New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

Data Source:

personal interviews

Extent of Processing:   ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Performed consistency checks.
  • Standardized missing values.
  • Performed recodes and/or calculated derived variables.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


Original ICPSR Release:   1984-03-18

Version History:

  • 2005-11-04 On 2005-03-14 new files were added to one or more datasets. These files included additional setup files as well as one or more of the following: SAS program, SAS transport, SPSS portable, and Stata system files. The metadata record was revised 2005-11-04 to reflect these additions.
  • 1997-07-18 SAS and SPSS data definition statements have been added to this collection.

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