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Political Science Data Services

Data Formats

Data can be found in a variety of formats. In many cases, data will be reported in partial form, that is, as a subset of a larger data set. This data is often presented in the form of tables. For example, the following table contains data on one variable, the number of American children living in single-parent families:

Children in Single-Parent Families

2009 2010 2011
1,452,000 1,484,000 1,493,000

In other cases, data will be provided in datasets. Datasets usually are much larger, containing a wider set of variables, and typically you can't see them on screen on the data archive or website. You will usually have to open these datasets in a program like SPSS or Excel.

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