Are you looking for data but running into restricted data? Do you not qualify for restricted data access but have research topics that deal with restricted topics? Do you lack the time to go through the university's IRB process or the data use agreement process for restricted-use data? There are ways to navigate around the restricted-use data and find readily available data on almost any topic.
Brianne Dosch, an ICPSR Visiting Representative Fellow and ICPSR Representative at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has developed several strategies to help researchers find data related to their research topic, even if some of the data are restricted. Be sure to visit Brianne's guide to Navigating around restricted data: tips and tools for finding available data related to sensitive topics in ICPSR.
Why are some data restricted? Restrictions are put on accessing data to follow important research ethics which protect research participants and researchers. This section explains the important reasons why data on certain topics are restricted.
Summary statistics may be more useful to you than the actual data, which means you don't have to worry about accessing restricted data! This section will give you questions to ask yourself, tools to use, and resources for summary statistics.
Brianne has created a very helpful Do you need data or summary statistics for your research? decision tree, which is also available as a PDF for downloading.
Save time and effort by being able to identify studies with restricted data or to exclude restricted data from your research. This section will show you how to search publicly available data and how to identify restricted data.
View sample searches for non-restricted data on sensitive topics for readily available data. Find sample questions in four big categories of research that often contain restricted data: health, crime/prisoners, families/children, and social issues (such as race). This section links to sample searches for you to explore.
Learn how to decide if you do need restricted data and what you need to do to access it. This section will help you learn how to read ICPSR's studies' pages to find information to make the decision about applying for restricted data or not.