Pew Research Center is a fact tank that produces information about issues, attitudes and trends around the world. They produce publications, datasets and more using various methodologies. This includes public opinion polling, demographic surveys and other data-driven social science research. They have several internationally-focused surveys and publications under their Global Attitudes & Trends research division. *
*This description is a paraphrased version of the description on the Pew Research Center website.
Available data file formats
PDF and SAV for full datasets, and Excel for specific questions.
This data source requires registration and login information to access the data. It is otherwise open to the public.
how to retrieve data by example
Suppose you wish to obtain information on social media usage around the world. You would like recent global survey data in the form of a PDF.
- Go to the Pew Research Center – Global page. At the top of the page, the tabs under Global will be in green. Click on the green tab that says Datasets. This will take you to a login page, where you must register and/or log in to access the data.
- Once registered, you are now able to download any of the survey datasets. All of the surveys are listed on this page, with resulting publications listed below the given dataset. You see the publication title Social Media Use Continues to Rise in Developing Countries but Plateaus Across Developed Ones below the Spring 2017 Survey Data dataset. Click on Download Dataset.
Note: You can also access the data through a specific publication. Select the publication of interest, in this case Social Media Use Continues to Rise in Developing Countries but Plateaus Across Developed Ones, and you will be taken to the publication page. On the right under Report Materials, click on the accompanying dataset, in this case the Spring 2017 Survey Data. This will take you to a page with a list of all publications from the same dataset, and the same Download Dataset link will appear on the right.
- The .zip file here contains a text file, a Microsoft Word file, a PDF and a SAV file. In this case, the files of interest are the MS Word file which contains the questionnaire for the survey with a list of included countries, and the PDF which contains data on all of the answers collected, organized in the form of tables.
- For data on a specific question from the survey, such as the question related to social media on this survey, click on Question Search within the Pew Research Center – Global page. This takes you to the Pew Global Attitudes & Trends Question Database. Check the box Spring 2017 under Select Studies and in the Search for bar at the top, type social.
- This will produce one question result that asks How often do you use social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, (INSERT COUNTRY-SPECIFIC EXAMPLES) to get news? Click View Data for that question.
- You will now see a table that contains all responses to this question for each country surveyed. To download this data, click on Export to Excel directly above the table on the top left.
(If you are having trouble accessing and/or downloading the data, see this post on the Pew Research Center website.)
You should now have access to survey data on social media usage around the world for the year 2017 in the form of a PDF (for the whole dataset) or an Excel file (for the one question pertaining to social media usage).
Be sure to consult with the source website on how to properly cite your data. For this scenario, the citation for the publication is given in the Complete Report PDF under Report Materials, located on the right of the publication page. The following two citations are the preferred citation for the publication, and an example citation for the dataset, respectively:
Pew Research Center, June, 2018, “Social Media Use Continues to Rise in Developing Countries, but Plateaus Across Developed Ones”
Pew Research Center. (2018). Spring 2017 Survey Data. Available from Pew Research Center Web site: http://www.pewglobal.org/?post_type=dataset