Searching Data Archived at FSD

First, think carefully what kind of data you are looking for. Answering the following questions may help you to narrow down your search:

  • What is your research question?
  • What kind of indicator or variable do you need? What kind of questions should have been asked of the respondents?
  • What time period are you interested in?
  • Are you looking for international comparative data?
  • How quickly do you need the data?

If you need the data very quickly, you should check that the dataset you are interested in is not under embargo, and that our data catalogues show that it has a codebook in English (which means that the dataset has already been translated into English). If the dataset is not yet available in English, FSD will translate it for you at no cost, but this may take a little while. In some cases, the original researcher has to be asked for permission for data re-use. The FSD staff is happy to help you with any questions

Search tools

Data Service Portal Aila is the most convenient way to browse, search and download data.

You can also search our data catalogues using the archive search interface based on Google search. It is not a sophisticated tool, but adequate for simple searching. When you are searching for data, it is best to select the option 'only data catalogue'. Truncation cannot be used, but phrase search is available.

Search tips

Are you looking for data on a specific subject?

You can browse archived data by keyword, topic, and series. Datasets are indexed using the English version of the multilingual thesaurus ELSST (Opens in a new tab) , and both the CESSDA and FSD topic classification. Our Data by Theme page also introduces datasets pertaining to different themes (e.g. health, crime, elections).

Are you looking for specific variables?

There are three search interfaces in Aila: Data, Variable and Expert search. You can restrict the search to a particular field, for instance, to title or question text. Using 'Search all fields' allows you to search anywhere in the document. You can also choose to search data in a particular language.

Please note that you cannot find variables for those datasets which have not yet been translated into English. However, you can search study descriptions to see if there are any datasets of interest to you. FSD translates quantitative datasets on request; ask our User Services (user-services.fsd ( at ) for more information on our translation services. To search study descriptions, select 'Study Description' as your Search criteria, and 'Search for datasets' in the Return what? section.