A Few Minutes with Roper Center

Let me ask you a question: How confident are you in the ability of the federal government to make progress on immigration in 2019?

Regardless of your answer, understanding public opinion on questions like this impacts our democracy and our scholarship at LMU. You can review this question and better inform your research using public opinion data with Roper Center, available right now at the William H. Hannon Library [MyLMU login].

Roper Center is the largest archive of public opinion data with content dating back to 1935. With more than 1,200 data providers (many members of the AAPOR Transparency Initiative), Roper Center includes question level poll and survey data that is updated daily. Not only does Roper Center provide public opinion data, it also gives an idea of language and terms used for historical research (e.g. climate change and global warming) and supports international scholars seeking poll data by country, sample size, or specific methodology.

iPoll Question detailsYou can search Roper Center by keyword just like many of our databases with words appearing in the record abstract. Use boolean operators (e.g. % for truncaction, and, or, etc.) to expand or narrow your search. Currently, Roper Center has two search interfaces: iPoll, for surveys and poll opinions, and datasets.¬†When searching iPoll, results provide question level data from a survey or poll including the date produced, who funded the survey or poll, the size of the sample, some graph or chart of the data, and a citation generator for publishing. Basically, you can ask a question from a known survey or poll or developed from your topic, and ask Roper Center for possible data by date, country, or organization. Within your iPoll search results, the iPoll+ feature allows you to view a survey or poll question as well as the sample’s breakdown using demographics like age, gender, and education. A quick visit to the source’s link may even provide the organization’s overall report for further explanation.

Datasets screenshotUsing Roper Center to explore datasets is just as simple. Use the “Datasets” interface in the upper right corner of Roper Center to search datasets by keyword or use the “Roper Express” filter in the iPoll search. Datasets provide state-level, national, and international data in a variety of formats for statistical analysis. You must create an account with Roper Center to download datasets but doing so allows you to save datasets in folders or export for later use.

For those completely new to public data and surveying as methodology, Roper Center also provides extensive information about how data is collected, what a sample size means, and how to use the information you find for your publishing. You can use the “Topics at a Glance” tool as a gateway to specific questions and datasets related to your research question without using keyword searching.

New Roper interfaceThis already exciting database is also getting a new look in November 2019! The new Roper Center interface will allow you to search for both datasets and question level polls and surveys in one place. You can toggle tabs for each type of data you want and further narrow your results using content filters like organization, topic, and country. Question level data can be seen in the context of the larger survey with an option to copy an image for your paper or social media.

As always, you can cite data found in Roper Center using the built-in citation generator of common styles. Additional tools include a presidential approval rating generator where you can compare presidencies and a global interactive map of polling data.

Looking for more on public opinion data? Check out the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research database, Pew Research Center, and this great Princeton University guide with many sources of U.S. data.