Data Resources: Cite

Information on how to find, use, and cite numeric data resources or data sets.

Why

Citing the data that you use in your research is critical for a number of reasons.

Citing data:

  • strengthens the authoritativeness of your work;
  • provides a record of the data you've used in your research;

  • allows the reader to go to find further information;

  • extends professional honesty and courtesy--writers have a responsibility to acknowledge using someone else's data.

When citing data, there are many style choices.  Check with your professor to see which style (APA, MLA, etc.) you should use.

Image source:  Reasonist.  Used with permission.

How

A dataset citation minimally includes the following components:    

Author 

Name(s) of each individual or organizational entity responsible for the creation of the dataset.   

Title

Complete title of the dataset, including the edition or version number, if applicable.

Year

Year the dataset was either published or disseminated.

Publisher / Distributor

Entity that makes the dataset available by archiving, producing, publishing, and/or distributing the dataset.

Access Information

A persistent URL or other persistent identifier, such as a doi.

 Source:  Quick Guide to Data Citation.  International Association for Social Science Information Services & Technology. 

Examples

APA   6th edition

Smith, T.W., Marsden, P.V., & Hout, M. (2011). General social survey, 1972-2010 cumulative file (ICPSR31521-v1) [data file and codebook]. Chicago, IL: National Opinion Research Center [producer]. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor]. doi: 10.3886/ICPSR31521.v1

MLA  7th edition

Smith, Tom W., Peter V. Marsden, and Michael Hout. General Social Survey, 1972-2010 Cumulative File. ICPSR31521-v1. Chicago, IL: National Opinion Research Center [producer]. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2011. Web. 23 Jan 2012. doi:10.3886/ICPSR31521.v1

Chicago   16th edition, author-date

Smith, Tom W., Peter V. Marsden, and Michael Hout. 2011. General Social Survey, 1972-2010 Cumulative File. ICPSR31521-v1. Chicago, IL: National Opinion Research Center. Distributed by Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research. doi:10.3886/ICPSR31521.v1

Source:  Quick Guide to Data Citation.  International Association for Social Science Information Services & Technology.